Strong relationships with early childhood educators: benefits
When you have strong and respectful relationships with early childhood educators at child care, there are many benefits for you and your child.
Benefits for your child
To start with, strong relationships put you in a great position to give educators information about your child. This information is a key way for educators to help your child get the most out of child care.
Strong relationships are also good for your child’s social and emotional development. If you have positive and respectful relationships with educators, it gives your child a great ‘model’ of how to behave with other people. And if your child sees kind and respectful relationships, your child will learn to act this way in their relationships with others.
Building good relationships with educators is also a way of showing interest in your child’s life, wellbeing and education. And when you show interest, it helps your child feel valued and important.
Benefits for you
The benefits of strong relationships with educators at child care include:
- feeling that the educator is interested and understands when you talk about your child
- feeling comfortable to raise concerns and work out solutions with educators
- knowing what’s going on at the child care service
- being able to influence programs and feel that your opinion is valued.
Letting your child see that you trust educators is a great way of helping your child settle in to child care. You could keep a photo of educators on the fridge at home, as well as a photo of yourself in the care environment to help your child connect the two settings.
Getting started on strong relationships with early childhood educators
You can start building relationships with early childhood educators before your child starts child care and also in the early days of care.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Find out about the centre’s orientation process and how you can help the educators get to know you and your child.
- Spend time in your child’s group and be a part of what’s going on.
- Go to ‘get to know you’ sessions, working bees and parent nights, if you can.
- Let educators know what you like about the centre.
- Ask educators how you can prepare your child for child care. Are there tasks your child needs to be able to do or rules your child needs to know and follow?
- Give educators some tips on how to care for your child. For example, ‘Ina eats best with a spoon’ or ‘Jono loves his tummy tickled when I do a nappy change’.
Communicating with early childhood educators
Once your child starts child care, communication with early childhood educators is key to strong relationships.
This can be as simple as introducing yourself to educators and saying hello and goodbye at drop-offs and pick-ups. Telling educators when they’re doing a good job is also a great way to build positive communication.
This lays the groundwork for talking to educators about your child and your child’s interests, likes, dislikes and needs. When the educators get to know your child like this, they can keep you in touch with how your child is going day to day. And they can also better support your child’s overall learning and development.
Remember that you won’t always be able to talk to educators face to face, but you might be able to call or use email, digital documentation or notes.
Things that educators want to know about your child
Your child’s educators will want to know about:
- things your child is interested in so they can make learning engaging for your child
- things that make your child happy, sad, worried or afraid so they can support your child
- times when a parent is away so they can reassure your child
- times when there are big changes in your family so they can help your child adjust – for example, a new baby, a new house, death, separation or divorce.
If you’re having challenges at home, consider asking the staff at your child’s centre for information or referral to someone who can help. Educators often know about resources in the community that support parents and families as well as children.
When there are problems at child care
Sometimes there might be problems you want to discuss with your child’s early childhood educators – for example, problems with lost items or your child’s toilet training. If you already have a positive relationship with educators, these issues will be easier to raise and quicker to sort out.
Many problems will be easy to sort out with a note, email or a phone call, but some might be more serious.
If a problem won’t go away or is more complicated, you might need to make an appointment to talk about it with your child’s educator. If this doesn’t work or you feel uncomfortable talking to the educator, you can also talk to your centre’s director or manager. It might also help to check your centre’s complaints policy.