Preschool Children’s Peer Conflict and Related Teacher Management Strategies
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Teachers are asking for help in managing young children's peer conflict. There is an urgent need in the early care and education community for more information about conflict management because teachers have reported that preventing and responding to peer conflict, particularly physical conflict, is one of the most difficult aspects of teaching young children. This aspect of teaching contributes to teacher burnout and subsequent staff turnover, both of which have a deleterious impact on the quality of care and education experienced by the children. Additionally, young children need to learn ways of solving their disagreements in verbal, prosocial ways rather than by hurting each other. Solving conflict in a socially responsible manner is a life skill that children can build upon throughout their childhood and beyond. However, there are gaps in the research literature which prevent teachers and those who educate teachers from building a complete and accurate understanding of the dynamics of young children's peer conflicts which, in turn, inhibits the identification of related, effective teacher management strategies.