Work ‘with’ me: Learning prosocial behaviours

Margaret Anne Carter 
James Cook University

Carmel Ellis
Indooroopilly Montessori Children’s House

This article reports research findings from a descriptive study, identifying the perceptions of 33 staff in one early childhood Montessori centre in south-east Queensland, Australia. The authors report on the instructional practices associated with young children learning prosocial behaviours in this centre. Social understanding and skill acquisition communicated with authoritative practices were ranked favourably, compared with punitive practices of ordering and bribing children to behave. Engaging in respectful limit setting involving teaching children baseline social rules was preferred over telling, blaming and punishing children to behave. Our findings provide preliminary support for the importance of educators purposefully teaching young children the minimal level prosocial behaviours expected within early childhood education contexts.


Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 41 Number 4 December 2016.

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