Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to determine if peer reactions to aggression among preschool youth were consistent with those conceptualized in the adolescent bullying literature as defenders, encouragers, and neutral bystanders. Research design: Direct observations were used to document patterns for types of peer-directed aggression in early childhood settings to ascertain interaction differences between individuals involved within the bullying dynamic. Methods and procedures: Observations of 50 students in preschool were conducted over 5.5 months. Event recording procedures were used to document aggressive behaviors and reactions from peers and teachers. Results: Results indicated that the majority of aggression was physical. Additionally, peer reactions, as described in the bullying literature for school-aged youth, occurred very infrequently. Conclusion: Peer aggression tended to be more physical, suggesting that early childhood educators should attend to these physical interactions, and cultivate a classroom community that emphasizes social supports and appropriate interactions.
- Early childhood