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Standards of Conduct

published by Roger Pavey

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Head Start

Standards

of Conduct 

The Head Start Standards require all staff, contractors, consultants, and volunteers to abide by the Standards of Conduct.

Standards of Conduct

Learning Objectives:

  • We will learn what types of words and actions are prohibited by the Standards of Conduct.

  • We will explore several scenarios where the Standards of Conduct apply in an early childhood education setting.

  • We will learn how to use the Standards of Conduct to help us be kinder and gentler in our approaches to children and families.


Let's take a look at the Standards of Conduct.


1302.90 (c) Standards of conduct.
(1) A program must ensure all staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers abide by the program’s standards of conduct that:
(i) Ensure staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers implement positive strategies to support children’s well-being and prevent and address challenging behavior;

Standards of Conduct

(ii) Ensure staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers do not maltreat or endanger the health or safety of children, including, at a minimum, that staff must not:


(A) Use corporal punishment;


(B) Use isolation to discipline a child;


(C) Bind or tie a child to restrict movement or tape a child’s mouth;


(D) Use or withhold food as a punishment or reward;


(E) Use toilet learning/training methods that punish, demean, or humiliate a child;

Standards of Conduct

(F) Use any form of emotional abuse, including public or private humiliation, rejecting, terrorizing, extended ignoring, or corrupting a child;


(G) Physically abuse a child;


(H) Use any form of verbal abuse, including profane, sarcastic language, threats, or derogatory remarks about the child or child’s family; or,


(I) Use physical activity or outdoor time as a punishment or reward;


Standards of Conduct

(iii) Ensure staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers respect and promote the unique identity of each child and family and do not stereotype on any basis, including gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or family composition;


(iv) Require staff, consultants, contractors, and volunteers to comply with program confidentiality policies concerning personally identifiable information about children, families, and other staff members in accordance with subpart C of part 1303 of this chapter and applicable federal, state, local, and tribal laws; and,



(v) Ensure no child is left alone or unsupervised by staff, consultants, contractors, or volunteers while under their care.



Standards of Conduct

(2) Personnel policies and procedures must include appropriate penalties for staff, consultants, and volunteers who violate the standards of conduct.

Standards of Conduct

At first glance, the Standards of Conduct may seem self-explanatory, and we might think we could never violate them. However, working in an early childhood education classroom can be stressful work, and we can stray across a line without meaning any harm.

Love By A Thousand Kind Actions

A life of poverty is a death by a thousand cuts.


In our daily work, we might accidentally make a tiny cut.


This is hard work. We are human. We are fallible.


We also have the opportunity to provide a thousand small acts of kindness, of compassion. The Standards of Conduct can help us learn how to turn a cut into a kindness.


"Adults are just outdated children."

- Dr. Seuss

Using the Standards to Become Kinder

Together, we will look at some scenarios that might come up in an early childhood classroom.


We will talk through four questions:

  • Would this be a violation of the Standards of Conduct? Which one?

  • How might this negatively impact a child?

  • Are there kinder ways to address the situation?

  • How could the situation be gently interrupted if you saw this happening?

Scenario: A teacher says, "We can't go outside today. There are too many behaviors."

Practice Scenario

Question # 1: Would this be a violation of the Standards of Conduct? Which one(s)?

Scenario: A teacher says, "We can't go outside today. There are too many behaviors."

Practice Scenario

Question # 2: How might this negatively impact a child?

Scenario: A teacher says, "We can't go outside today. There are too many behaviors."

Practice Scenario

Question # 3: What are some kinder ways the teacher could have addressed this situation?

Scenario: A teacher says, "We can't go outside today. There are too many behaviors."

Practice Scenario

Question # 4: How could the situation be gently interrupted if you saw this happening?

It's Your Turn....

We will work in small groups to look at some more scenarios, then we will come back together to discuss them.



Remember our four questions:

  • Would this be a violation of the Standards of Conduct? Which one?

  • How might this negatively impact a child?

  • Are there kinder ways to address the situation?

  • How could the situation be gently interrupted if you saw this happening?

Scenario #1

A child strikes out at another child with an open hand. The teacher says, "Good friends don't hit. We all feel sad when you hit."

Scenario #2

A child has a toileting accident and wets through his/her clothing, onto the floor during a large group activity. The teacher says, “Please get some paper towels so you can help me clean up your mess.” The child gets paper towels and hands them to the teacher, who cleans the floor. Then the teacher takes the child to change his/her clothing.

Scenario #3

You are visiting another classroom to deliver some supplies. The teacher says, “Hey watch this.” The teacher turns to a girl in the classroom and says, “Sara, dance for our visitor.” The teacher says to you, “She dances like an adult from her culture. It’s so cool. Isn’t that amazing!”

Scenario #4

When transitioning from the hallway into the classroom after being outside, the staff leave a child in the hallway. The classroom door closes. Ten seconds elapses. One of the teachers notices the child is missing and retrieves the child from the hallway.

Scenario #5

A child becomes upset and knocks some blocks off a shelf. Your co-worker is obviously upset by this and is visibly angry. He/she grabs the child roughly by the arm and picks the child up quickly, holding the child tightly in his/her arms. The teacher says, “We are nice to our friends!” while the child is struggling to get out of the teacher’s arms.

Thank You

Thank You

for the thousands of acts of kindness you show children.

Thank you for presenting this important training. You can download an instructor's guide at the link below. The guide includes all handouts and instructor notes.

Instructor's Guide

Standards of Conduct Trainer's Guide