End of the naughty step as nurseries say they no longer use the term due to 'negative connotations'

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 It was once a popular way for nursery teachers to discipline misbehaving toddlers.  

But the “naughty step” is becoming a thing of the past, with nurseries saying that they no longer use the term due to its “negative connotations”.  

The majority (60 per cent) of nurseries said they do not agree with having a “naughty step”, according to a poll of 1,000 owners, managers and staff conducted by the review sit daynureries.co.uk.  

The survey found that 74 per cent rejected the use of the“naughty step” – where children are asked to sit in a particular place and reflect on their actions – as a method for controlling bad behaviour.  

Almost all (95 per cent) of nursery teachers said they are not even allowed to call a child “naughty” in their nursery.

Danielle Butler, a director at Tommies Childcare which runs nurseries in  Coventry, Derby, Kenilworth and Nuneaton, said they adopt a “holistic” approach to managing behaviour.

 “The term ‘naughty’ is one that has held negative connotations particularly in an Early Years context,” she said.

“There is the potential for children to be labelled with this term, without them being able to understand why their behaviour is unacceptable.”   

Ms Butler said that word “naughty” is not used her nursery, adding that she discourages any words “that label children’s behaviour in a negative way”.  

Matthew Byrne, director of Crafty Wizards pre-School in south-east London, said that they do not call children “naughty” on the basis that “it can negatively impact on how others see that child, from their peers to the adults around them”.

He added: “The child might not be following adult instructions, playing within social norms of behaviour but they are not intrinsically naughty.”

Amy Alderson, a director at Tops Day Nurseries, said they believe in “promoting good behaviour through positive re-enforcement”.

She added: “We avoid secluding or reprimanding children for undesired behaviours and refrain from labelling children’s behaviour as ‘naughty’.

“If a child was throwing hard blocks in the classroom, we would help them identify the impact of their behaviour and they would be re-directed to throw the bean bags in the throwing zone.

“Re-direction enables children to practice the skills they need to develop in a way that is socially appropriate.”

She said that repeat incidents of bad behaviour can, as a last resort, lead to children having “thinking time”, where they reflect on their behaviour.



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