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 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 (Early Years Learning Framework, p. 20; Framework for School Age Care, p. 19).

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, routines and ongoing projects to stimulate children’s thinking and to enrich their learning.

These relationships provide a solid foundation from which to guide and support children as they develop the self-confidence and skills to manage their own 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 close, secure relationships with children of all ages, abilities, genders and backgrounds?
  • How do we ensure children feel that they belong and are 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? How do we cater for and help each child to reach their potential?
  • How do we promote children’s social and emotional competence?
  • How do we identify and overcome potential barriers to inclusion at the service so that each child’s 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 to the distress some children experience when they have to adapt to unfamiliar routines, new people and new places?
  • How do we respond sensitively and appropriately to all children’s efforts to communicate?
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 and implementing the program?
  • How do we encourage all children to understand their rights and the rights 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?