Strong, positive relationships are considered the foundation of effective learning in the early years.
Relational pedagogies draw on the relationships, interactions, communication and interconnection of people, places and things in children’s sociocultural contexts to enhance and extend children’s learning and development.
Children’s learning and development is supported through close, caring and consistent relationships that promote trust and security. Relationships are the cornerstone of effective early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.
There is a wealth of evidence confirming the importance of strong, secure relationships as a basis for children’s effective learning and development, extending Bowlby’s development of attachment theory and linking strong attachment relationships to a range of long term positive outcomes for children. Recent neuroscience research demonstrates the impact of nurturing and responsive relationships on infants’ brain development.
- Aim to ensure ongoing, stable and attentive relationships and attachments between teachers and children, taking care to support children’s connections to particular teachers.
- With infants and toddlers, develop more attuned interactions through individualised, sensitive and timely responses to their verbal and non-verbal cues.
- Focus on providing a physical and emotional presence for children and orienting yourself to children’s experiences to develop more attuned interactions.
- Focus on improving daily interactions and connections with children as a way to strengthen relationships.
- Deepen relationships through experiences of joint attention or joint involvement, shared meaning-making or (with infants and toddlers) reciprocal imitation.
- How do you ensure each child develops a strong and trusting attachment to at least one teacher in the setting?
- What strategies can you use to get to know each individual child well?
- How do you ensure that interactions between teachers and children strengthen relationships?
- How do the environment and routines enable teachers to engage in attentive interactions with children?
- What possibilities are there for activities in which teachers and children can experience joint involvement and shared attention?
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