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Direct Guidance vs. Indirect Guidance Examples in Early Childhood

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Positive guidance strategies like direct guidance are highly effective. Here are the top direct and indirect guidance examples in the early learning

Direct guidance and indirect guidance are two methods that early childhood educators (ECEs) use to help young children learn in a safe and engaging environment. Both guidance methods have their advantages in and outside of the classroom. Yet, they are not quite the same. 

These teaching methods are used as part of positive guidance. Positive guidance helps your child develop self-control and assists them in making thoughtful decisions. You’re not alone if you have heard an early learning provider talk about indirect or direct guidance and felt confused. Today, we’ll explore how these teaching techniques differ and how they are used in the early learning setting. 

Understanding Teaching Techniques in Early Childhood Education

At Vivvi, we love that parents trust our early learning providers to help their children hit essential developmental milestones. Teaching young children is a wonderful experience, but it requires a lot of planning and foresight. Each child deserves the opportunity to explore their curiosity and creativity healthily. To do this, ECEs need to use specific teaching techniques. 

Imagine this scenario: You are teaching a group of 15 toddlers. On your lesson plan for the day, you will be helping them to develop their communication skills through arts and crafts. Craft supplies have been laid out on each table, and you ask the children to paint a picture of their favorite animal. Yet, there isn’t enough yellow paint for everyone. 

This lack of paint might not seem like a big deal, but it might cause a few scenarios to impact a child’s behavior. For example, they could get frustrated and become angry with another child. Using direct and indirect guidance methods will control the situation and reinforce appropriate behaviors. 

These teaching techniques show children how to behave correctly in the early learning environment and at home. 

Differences Between Direct and Indirect Guidance

Now that we understand why teaching techniques are essential, let’s explore the two core early childhood guidance strategies. 

What is Indirect Guidance?

Young children are highly influenced by their environment. This includes sounds, visuals, objects, and even the people in the same room as them. These indirect factors can disrupt a child’s behavior. So, it is essential to use positive guidance techniques to create a safe learning environment. 

These factors are thought about when arranging a classroom, setting class rules, and designing lesson plans. This is called indirect guidance, and it is a preventative guidance technique. By indirectly influencing a child’s behavior through their physical space, e.g., providing enough learning materials, we can teach young children how to behave in different social situations. 

What is Direct Guidance?

On the other hand, direct guidance is a method used to respond to a child’s inappropriate behavior as it happens. This guidance strategy uses verbal and non-verbal communication to help young children acknowledge their wrong or mistaken behavior and correct it. 

The direct guidance technique involves teachers using simple language or actions in a relaxed manner to help children understand how they should behave. This can be done in many ways, but the most popular methods are modeling behavior or redirecting a child’s attention. Direct guidance is a reactive approach. 

How Are These Guidance Strategies Used in the Early Learning Setting? 

One of the best ways to understand these early childhood guidance strategies is through real-life examples. If you have ever wondered how direct and indirect guidance is used in your child’s early learning center, we will enlighten you. 

Here are a few of our favorite direct guidance and indirect guidance examples to use at Vivvi:

Direct Guidance Examples

  1. Offer children choices: If a child is misbehaving, redirect their attention by giving them a choice between two appropriate behaviors. For example, ask them, “Do you want to read a book in this chair, or do you want to play with the building blocks?” This helps them to choose a more suitable activity to do.
  2. Redirecting their attention: Redirecting a child’s attention is another excellent way to assist them in making thoughtful choices. For example, when a child is moving something they shouldn’t be, say, “Ben, the paints stay in the arts and crafts section. This is where we read books. Let’s go over to the bookshelves and choose a story to read together.” 
  3. Encourage them to solve problems: Facilitating problem-solving is another effective direct guidance example. If there is a conflict with another child, ask them to explain the problem and how it can be solved. This helps them learn how to navigate conflicts. 
  4. Intervene: If a child is misbehaving and not listening to your guidance, intervention may be necessary. Changing their physical environment can help, e.g., move them to a different area of the room, provide more materials, or remove certain toys or equipment. 

Indirect Guidance Examples

  1. Change the physical space: Make the classroom environment as child-friendly and learning-friendly as possible. Have different learning sections, so they know that one area of the room is for playing and another is for building scientific inquiry skills. Place learning materials and other furniture at the child’s height. For example, bookshelves should be at eye level so a child can choose their own book. 
  2. Provide consistent schedules: Children love consistency as it makes them feel safe. Including fun and engaging activities into their daily routine can help reduce misbehaving. At Vivvi, we include various activities that will help them develop early learning skills while also encouraging them to explore their own interests.
  3. Have set class rules: Children need structure, which also applies to the classroom rules. Having consistent rules the children must follow, e.g., “we walk in the classroom, we run when we’re outside,” helps them understand what is expected of them. 

At Vivvi, we use both indirect and direct guidance examples as part of our early learning model. Our early childhood educators know how to help your child get the most out of the learning environment. We encourage your child to explore their curiosity through fun and insightful activities that are designed to help them reach their developmental milestones. 

To learn more about Vivvi, get in touch with our team today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

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