Biting is a normal characteristic during the early stages of development in young children. In very young children (infants), biting is often associated with teething. In toddlers and young preschool children, biting usually happens when a child’s language skills are not developed enough for them to express themselves. During these stages of development, young children can bite for different reasons; sensory exploration, excitement, intense desire for an activity, and crowding of one’s personal space. Even though this behavior is understandable developmentally, it is still very unsettling for parents, teachers and children when it happens. Biting is not something to blame on children, parents or teachers. Instead, it is a behavior that all parties need to work toward extinguishing.

Here at PVMS, our programs provide an environment that encourages the development of qualities that are synonymous with the Montessori philosophy, some of which are peer conflict resolution through the use of words and respectful and cooperative interactions with each other. Our teachers always try to help students understand the cause and effect associated with their behavior. In cases of biting, we will work with the biting child to develop more appropriate responses to resolving conflicts and frustration.

Due to health and safety concerns, biting is always taken seriously. The following is an outline of our policy for handling a biting incident.
• The biter is immediately removed from the group with a firm NO and told that biting is not okay, it hurts.
• The bitten child is consoled and a teacher will wash the bitten area with soap and water.
• If necessary, ice is applied to reduce any swelling or bruising.
• Should the wound require immediate medical attention, appropriate action will be taken and parents will be notified immediately.
• The teacher will call both sets of parents.
• For the purpose of privacy, the name of the biting child is not released.
• Classroom teachers will confer to review the context of the biting incident. Every effort will be made to prevent further biting behavior.
• If it is determined that changes in supervision or the environment are warranted, then those changes will be implemented.

At PVMS every effort is made to address and extinguish this behavior. We will balance our support between the family of the biting child and the families in the classroom community. Classroom teachers and/or the level director will communicate their strategies for resolution with the parents of the biting child and will be available for any follow up questions.

If every effort has made and resource used to extinguish the biting behavior and it continues, we may consider asking the family to withdraw their child.

Pioneer Valley Montessori School, 1524 Parker Street, Springfield, MA 01129 • 413-782-3108

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