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A well drafted and clear behaviour policy is a public statement about your team's commitment to support children's learning in terms of their behaviour.

The content of the policy should answer these three important questions:

    What are the key values that inform your team's overall approach to children's behaviour?

    What are your expectations for everyone's behaviour in the setting? A constructive policy is as much about the behaviour of adults as the children.

    What are the strategies you will use to guide children's behaviour? How will you help children to behave within the boundaries that are set?

A policy is a working document; it should not be fixed forever. You need to test-drive the details and then modify them in the light of discussion within the team, with parents and with the children. A helpful policy is not too long.

Try for no more than three or four pages and organise it into short paragraphs and bullet points that are easy to digest.

Key values
Your behaviour policy can communicate the positive context in which you approach children's behaviour. The key points are:

    Children learn how to behave. A constructive approach is grounded in realistic expectations of young children and the adult role of helpful guide.

    Your approach is part of the early years curriculum and consistent with key principles in your work, such as equal opportunities.

    Your setting is committed to working in partnership with parents. A behaviour policy should have close connections with the rest of your work.

You will have goals for children's development that shape adult behaviour just as much as your expectations of the children. A policy could explain briefly that you want the children to develop in:

    Self-respect and growing self-esteem
    Pro-social behaviour including consideration and empathy for others
    The ability to guide their behaviour
    Social skills such as negotiation and...