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
When you have a strong relationship with your child’s educator, it’s easy to share information about your child. With this information, educators can help your child get the most out of their time in child care.
Strong relationships are also good for your child’s social and emotional development. That’s because they set a good example for your child, which helps your child learn how to behave with other people.
Building good relationships with educators also shows your child that you’re interested in how they’re going and what’s happening for them at child care. 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:
- knowing how your child is going at child care and feeling that their development is important
- knowing that educators are interested and understand when you talk about your child
- feeling comfortable to raise concerns and work out solutions with educators
- knowing what’s happening at the child care service, including any upcoming changes or events
- being able to influence children’s programs and feel that your opinion is valued.
Child care is also known as early childhood education and care or early learning and care. Likewise, child care centres are sometimes called early childhood services or early learning centres. We usually talk about child care and child care centres or services in our articles.
Getting started on strong relationships with early childhood educators
You can start building relationships with your child’s early childhood educators before your child starts child care and also in the early days.
Here are ideas to get you started:
- Find out about the child care service’s orientation process and how you can help the educators get to know you and your child.
- Spend time with your child in their group and get involved in what’s going on.
- Go to ‘get to know you’ sessions, working bees, parent nights and other events, if you can.
- Let educators know what you like about the service.
- Ask educators how you can help your child prepare for child care. For example, are there tasks your child needs to be able to do or rules your child needs to know?
- Offer your child’s educators tips to help them care for your child. For example, ‘Ina eats best with a spoon’ or ‘Jono loves listening to music when I do a nappy change’.
Letting your child see that you trust educators is a great way of helping your child settle in to child care. One way to do this is by putting a photo of your child’s educators on your fridge at home. Just check with the educators that this is OK with them.
Communicating with early childhood educators
Once your child starts child care, open and respectful communication will help you build strong relationships with educators.
This can be as simple as introducing yourself to educators and saying hello and goodbye at drop-offs and pick-ups. Letting educators know that they’re doing a good job also works well.
This lays the groundwork for talking with educators about your child and your child’s interests, likes, dislikes, needs and expectations. And you can talk about how your child is going day to day. When educators get to know your child like this, it helps them better support your child’s overall learning and development.
You won’t always be able to talk to educators face to face, but you might be able to call, use email or communicate via the service’s app. It’s a good idea to ask your child’s educator about the best way to stay in touch.
Things that educators want to know about your child
Your child’s educators will want to know:
- what your child is interested in – so they can make learning engaging for your child
- what makes your child happy, sad, worried or afraid – so they can comfort and encourage your child
- when a parent is away – so they can reassure your child
- whether there are big changes in your family circumstances, like new siblings, house moves, death or separation – so they can help your child adjust.
If there are challenges at home, consider asking your child’s educators or the service director whether they can refer you to family and child resources in your community.
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 toileting. If you already have a strong relationship with educators, these matters are likely to be easy to raise and quick to resolve.
You can sort out many problems with a note, an email or a phone call.
If you can’t sort out problems this way, it’s best to make an appointment with your child’s educator. If this doesn’t work or you feel uncomfortable talking to the educator, you can talk to the service director or manager.
If the matter still isn’t resolved, you can contact your state or territory regulatory authority.
It might also help to check your service’s complaints policy.