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Barming Pre-School and Primary School

Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible And Make Good Choices

Barming Pre-School and Primary School

Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible And Make Good Choices

Welcome to Term 6 - Monday 3rd June to Friday 19 July! Monday 22nd July and Tuesday 23rd July are INSET days and we are closed to children.
Welcome to Barming Pre-School and Primary School
We are a 2 form entry primary school on the outskirts of Maidstone. It is a co-educational school for children aged 2 to 11 years old. There are currently 416 children on roll.
A Message from the Headteacher
Barming Primary School has so much to offer. Everyone is welcome and children are encouraged to flourish and achieve their goals. Come and find out what we are all about!
Orchard Academy Trust
Barming Primary School is an Academy and is part of the Orchard Trust family of schools. The Trust currently consists of Allington Primary School and Barming Primary School.

Supporting Challenging Behaviour

Behaviour is a Curriculum… it has to be taught!


What is Behaviour?

  • The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.


  • The way in which an animal or person behaves in response to a particular situation of stimulus.

Behaviour is a form of communication:

If children misbehave it is important to understand why, before teaching them how to behave.


Schools have to be safe places, for staff and children:


An anxious, angry or frightened mind cannot learn.


An anxious, angry or frightened mind cannot teach.


For that matter, an anxious, angry or frightened mind will find social and emotional leadership a challenge.

What happens to our brain when it gets anxious, angry or frightened?


The ‘Amygdala Hijack’

The frontal cortex of the brain (the red areas) is where thinking and reasoning takes place.

When the Amygdala has flipped its lid, you will not be able to reason with a child, or adult for that fact, therefore space and time is needed for them to recover, before you can fully discuss what has happened and problem solve the situation.

Rules and Routines


Rules and routines are really important in supporting children’s behavioural developments.   Establish the rules and maintain the expectations at all times, make them the ‘norms’, as soon as rules are not upheld they are no longer the ‘norms’.   We all know it is difficult when we are tired, pre-occupied etc., but it is important to maintain rules and routines as much as possible.


Routines are extremely important and good for children, it gives them stability.   For example: bedtime routines; same bed time every night (this is important), followed by the order of doing things: tidying things away, going to the toilet, cleaning teeth, brushing hair, putting pyjamas on, getting into bed, reading a bedtime story etc.   Routines are invaluable!

Understanding self-regulation


As adults we have had to learn how to self-regulate – when we are getting cross about something we need to calm down and for all of us, this will look different – removing ourselves from the situation by going for a drive or walk, by sitting quietly, drinking a cup of tea etc.


Children need to learn and understand how to self-regulate… it does not come naturally!   They need to learn to identify how they feel and what it looks like when they are angry, cross or frightened and then they need to know how to regulate these feelings.

Teaching Behaviour starts at home and continues in school.


In order to build strong foundations for social, emotional and physical development, we must meet the basic physical needs and sense of personal security.   This idea is central to the theories of the developmental psychologist, Maslow.  


We understand that providing basic needs is harder for some families than others, so if you are struggling to provide food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, sleep etc., please speak to a member of staff so we can try and help.   There are plenty of places we can signpost families to.   We are always happy to support our families and ultimately our community.  


Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs.   When each need is fulfilled we move onto the next one and so on.   This is why Maslow’s model is often showed as a pyramid.   He shows that “self-actualisation” will not happen if basic needs remain unfulfilled!

Dealing with a child’s behaviour…


Remember this simple acronym to help your child remain calm, feel understood/listened to and refocused on what they should be doing:




S – Safety cues – think face, tone of voice and body language.   They should all match and be as relaxed as you possibly can.

E – Empathy – be curious and understanding.   Responding empathically.   Acknowledge their feelings and ask why they feel that way (child: I am cross as I didn’t want the activity to stop etc.).

A – Agreements – remind or re-set.   Remind them what they need to do e.g. pack away or re-set the expectations e.g. next time you feel this way you need to talk to me etc.


This is all easier said than done, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go right… we can always re-set and try again next time!


Below is a simple script to focus your conversations.   Emotion Coaching is a good tool to help parents and teachers to explore the behaviours and come up with solutions.   Give it a go… what have you got to lose?


Emotion Coaching (how co-regulation works):


Step 1: Recognising, empathising, soothing to calm (‘I understand how you feel, you’re not alone’)


Step 2: Validating the feelings and labelling (‘This is what is happening, this is what you’re feeling’)


Step 3 (if needed): Setting limits on behaviour (‘We can’t always get what we want’)


Step 4: Problem-solving with the child/young person (‘We can sort this out’)


Please watch the following video about emotion coaching:

The Explosive Child…


Recommended book to read: “Revised and Updated The Explosive Child Sixth Edition” written by Ross W. Greene, Ph. D. and can be purchased online or from bookshops.


An explosive child is a child who responds to routine problems with extreme frustration: crying, screaming, swearing, kicking, hitting, biting, spitting, destroying property and worse.


A good strategy to try…


When children have behaviour issues, these can be referred to as unsolved problems as the behaviour is directly related to something, in the child’s eyes.   Therefore, when then the child has had time to recover from their perceived stressor, this is when you can identify the problem and work together to come up with a solution.


In “The Explosive Child” book it talks about three options to help situations, Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.


  • Plan A refers to sorting a plan unilaterally (one sided).   This means that adults decide upon and impose a solution.   E.g. You haven’t done your homework, therefore no Xbox for a week.
  • Plan B involves solving a problem collaboratively – adult and child.
  • Plan C involves setting aside an unsolved problem while you solve problems of a higher priority or ones which need solving before you can tackle others.


Where possible, try to avoid Plan A’s, B’s and C’s are far more effective, as like previously stated – Behaviour has to be taught and so does how we approach things!


You only need plans, if a child is not meeting your expectations.   It goes without saying that if your child is meeting your expectations, you do not need a plan.


Plan B works, but it does take practice and patience!


How does Plan B work?   (Pages 83 to 113 of ‘The Explosive Child’ for further information.)


There are three steps to Plan B:


  1. The Empathy Step: gathering information from your child to understand what’s making it hard for them to meet and expectation, in this case homework.   “I’ve noticed that it’s been difficult for you to complete your homework.   What’s up?”   This stage heavily relies on you listening to your child and not interrupting!   During this stage do not disregard or dismiss what they are saying – acknowledge their feelings or their concerns/worries – repeat them back to them.   The empathy stage is about giving your child a voice – be curious about what they say.   Sometimes we may read a situation wrong and believe their problem is one thing, but when they tell us, it is not that at all.   A good way to start the empathy stage is to start with “I’ve noticed that…” and end with “What’s up?”   You may think “What’s up?” is a strange ending, but it is open ended and allows the child to answer how they want to.


Your child may not say anything at all or they are unclear, therefore you may have to drill, not grill.   The goal of drilling is to clarify, whereas grilling tends to be an act of intimidation.   Drilling is to demonstrate to your child that you are attempting to understand their concern.  


Drilling is reflective listening – simply saying back to the child whatever they said to you and then often followed by clarifying statements like “How so?” / “I don’t understand.” / “I’m confused.” / “Can you say more about that?” / “What do you mean?”


Drilling is about asking questions beginning with the words who, what, where or when.


Drilling is about finding out more information – why can you do it sometimes and not others?


Drilling is about finding out how they feel or what they were thinking amidst the unsolved problem.


Drilling is about breaking the unsolved problem down into component parts, as some unsolved problems have multiple components e.g. getting ready for bed has many components and it is helpful to pinpoint which component is causing them difficulty.


Drilling is summarising and asking for more.


  1. The Define Adult Concerns Step: This step involves you entering your concern or perspective for the child to consider.   This step usually starts with the words “My concern is…” or “The thing is…”   This step is not where you are trying to solve the problem you are merely stating your point of view.


  1. The Invitation Step: This is the final step where you and your child are working together to come up with a solution.   This is where the adult invites the child to solve the problem with them – collaboratively rather than unilaterally.   Give your child the first crack at generating a solution: “Do you have any ideas?”   The child does not have sole responsibility to solve the problem, but give them a voice.   Acknowledge their ideas and guide the problem solving.   NB: If you have already decided on the solution, you are not using Plan B; you are using a ‘clever’ version of Plan A.


Practice makes perfect and time!

A great resource you may want to put on your fridge, is the Stress Relief Giraffe image below:

  • Barming Pre-School and Primary School,
  • Belmont Close, Barming,
  • Maidstone, Kent,
  • ME16 9DY
  • 01622 726472