Standard 5.1: Relationships between educators and children

Respectful and equitable relationships are maintained with each child.

How Standard 5.1 contributes to quality education and care

When children and young people experience nurturing and respectful reciprocal relationships with educators, they develop an understanding of themselves as competent, capable and respected. Consistent emotional support contributes to children developing a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging. Relationships are the foundation for the construction of identity, and help shape children’s thinking about who they are, how they belong and what influences them. Relational pedagogy underpins interactions between educators and children and their families and is key to children building a positive sense of self-worth (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care).

Constructive everyday interactions and shared learning opportunities form the basis of equitable, respectful and reciprocal relationships between educators and children. Educators who are actively engaged in children’s learning and share decision-making with them, use their everyday interactions during play, rituals, routines and ongoing projects to stimulate children’s thinking and to enrich and extend their learning, development and wellbeing.

These relationships provide a solid foundation from which to guide and support children as they develop the self-confidence and skills to manage their emotions and behaviour, make decisions and relate positively and effectively to others.

Questions to guide reflection on practice for Standard 5.1 (for all services)

Positive relationships

  • How do we build, safe, secure and respectful relationships with all children, taking into account all children’s social, cultural and linguistic diversity (including learning styles, abilities, disabilities, gender, sexual identity, family circumstances and geographic location) (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care)?
  • How do we ensure all children feel that they belong and are valued and included in the service, can participate in all learning experiences, and that their contributions are appreciated and recognised?
  • How do we learn about individual children’s non-verbal cues and communication strategies, and the specific communication requirements of each child, including children with additional needs and disabilities? How do we cater for and help each child to reach their potential?
  • How do we discuss with children what is acceptable behaviour between each other and between adults and children?
  • How do we support each child to identify where they can seek help?
  • How do we promote children’s social and emotional competence?
  • How do we identify and overcome potential barriers to inclusion at the service, including making reasonable adjustments, so that each child’s meaningful participation is supported?
  • How do we respectfully engage in children’s play? What roles do we play?
  • How do we deliberately, purposefully and thoughtfully interact with children to support their learning?
  • What strategies and techniques do we use to extend and build on children’s comments and conversations?
  • How do we respond empathetically to the distress, fears and frustrations some children experience, including when they have to adapt to unfamiliar routines, new people and new places?
  • How do we promote the safety and wellbeing of children who are experiencing or have experienced adversity and trauma, including adopting trauma-informed practices (Early Years Learning Framework; Framework for School Age Care)?
  • How do we respond sensitively and appropriately to all children’s efforts to initiate interactions and conversations?

Family day care

  • How do we respond in a fair and consistent way to our own children and to the children who attend the service?

Dignity and rights of every child

  • How do we consider the rights of every child when planning, implementing and evaluating the program?
  • How do we encourage all children to understand their rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of others?
  • How do our service’s policies and procedures support each child’s dignity and rights?
  • How do we identify and minimise the impact of our own biases on our practices and relationships with children and families? How are children’s rights considered in these reflections?