By Jeannette Harrison
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Extra resources for Understanding Children: Foundations for Quality
Encouragement is an important aspect of the development of a cooperative and contributive attitude in children. 43 As described in chapter 13, we have to be very careful to distinguish encouragement from praise as each has a different purpose. Praise can be seen as a type of reward given by an approving adult. It is an attempt to motivate children by external rewards or values such as ‘you are so good’ or ‘so pretty’ or ‘I’m very proud of you’. It focuses on the end product rather than on how the child feels about something.
3 Consider the past few days with your children. Think of at least three times when you could have enhanced children’s self-esteem by acknowledging their worth and their competence. Write down what you could have said or done in each situation. Practise using these responses in future situations. 29 Recommended reading Curry, Nancy & Johnson, Carl. Beyond Self-esteem: Developing a Genuine Sense of Human Value, NAEYC, New York, 1992. Dinkmeyer, Don & Losancy, Lewis. The Encouragement Book, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1980.
22 Building self-esteem re How is self-esteem-enhancing ca provided? Beginning in early infancy children need to have a feeling of their own inherent worth conveyed to them. An important factor in these early months is the sense of touch. Through touch, babies develop a symbiotic relationship with those around them, and begin to establish a sense of acceptance. Research has shown that these early interactions have a profound effect on future behaviour. When babies are respectfully held, touched and nurtured, when their needs are met and adults respond positively to their cues, then these infants are likely to develop a strong sense of worth.