Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Early Childhood Education

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Tamara Nuttall

Second Reader

Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky


Positive Guidance, Challenging Behaviors, Early Childhood, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Conscious Discipline.


In the field of early childhood education, there has been a growing concern over the number of challenging behaviors being displayed. To decrease the display of challenging behaviors, educators have been looking for positive strategies and supports to help manage the display of challenging behaviors such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) (Carter, Van Norman, & Tredwell, 2011), and Conscious Discipline (Bailey, 2014). When managing the display of challenging behaviors, a shift has occurred from using negative discipline practices to implementing positive guidance approaches in early childhood (EC) classrooms (Carter et al., 2011). When educators teach the children what is expected as well as clearly define those expectations in a positive manner, educators are guiding the child’s social and emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Research has shown that when positive guidance strategies like PBIS, and Conscious Discipline are implemented in EC classrooms, the display of challenging behaviors is lessened. Resources for this capstone study include quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods studies. The research examined what positive guidance strategies are, the benefits of implementing positive guidance strategies in the classroom, and best practices for incorporating positive guidance into an early childhood classroom. Research has shown that through the implementation of positive guidance strategies in EC classrooms, children develop stronger social-emotional skills, are better able to manage their own behaviors and emotions more effectively, and with the reduction in the display of challenging behaviors in the classroom, educators are able to spend more time engaging in learning activities with the children.