The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) identifies secure, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with children as one of the principles that underpin practice. Within an early childhood community many different relationships are negotiated with and between children, educators, and families. The way in which these relationships are established and maintained, and the way in which they remain visible impacts on how the early childhood community functions as a whole. Relationships directly affect how children form their own identity, whether or not they feel safe and supported, and ultimately, their sense of belonging.
NATIONAL QUALITY STANDARD (NQS)
|QUALITY AREA 5: RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHILDREN|
|5.1||Relationships between educators and children||Respectful and equitable relationships are maintained with each child.|
|5.1.1||Positive educator to child interactions||Responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.|
|5.1.2||Dignity and rights of the child||The dignity and rights of every child are maintained.|
|5.2||Relationships between children||Each child is supported to build and maintain sensitive and responsive relationships.|
|5.2.1||Collaborative learning||Children are supported to collaborate, learn from and help each other.|
|QUALITY AREA 6: COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES|
|6.1||Supportive relationships with families||Respectful relationships with families are developed and maintained and families are supported in their parenting role.|
|6.1.1||Engagement with the service||Families are supported from enrolment to be involved in the service and contribute to service decisions.|
|6.1.2||Parents views are respected||The expertise, culture, values and beliefs of families are respected, and families share decision-making about their child’s learning and wellbeing.|
|6.1.3||Families are supported||Current information is available to families about the service and relevant community services and resources to support parenting and family wellbeing.|
|EDUCATION AND CARE SERVICES NATIONAL REGULATIONS|
|84||Awareness of child protection law|
|115||Premises designed to facilitate supervision|
|126||Centre-based services- general educator qualifications|
|155||Interactions with children|
|156||Relationships in groups|
|157||Access for parents|
|168||Education and care services must have policies and procedures|
|170||Policies and procedures to be followed|
|Behaviour Guidance Policy Child Protection Policy Child Safe Environment Policy Code of Conduct Policy Dealing with Complaints Policy Delivery of Children to, and Collection from and Education and Care Service Premises Educational Program Policy Enrolment Policy Family Communication Policy||Management Committee Policy Open Door Policy Orientation of Families Policy Privacy and Confidentiality Policy Relief Staff Policy Respect for Children Policy Social Media Policy Student and Volunteer Policy Supervision Policy Transition to School Policy|
We aim to build positive and respectful relationships with children, families, and educators through collaboration and interactions, which is reflective of our Service philosophy and the Early Years Learning Framework. Educators will encourage positive relationships between children and their peers as well as with educators and families at the Service, ensuring children feel safe and supported.
This policy applies to children, families, staff, management, and visitors of the Service.
Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations, the approved provider must ensure that policies and procedures are in place for interactions with children (Regulation 168) and take reasonable steps to ensure those policies and procedures are followed.
In order to build and maintain positive and respectful relationships with children, families and educators of our Service will adhere to our statement of philosophy and the ACA Code of Ethics. We aim to provide a child safe culture where our values and practices that guide the attitudes and behaviour of all staff are guided by the implementation of the Child Safe Standards and related National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.
Interactions with Children
Children need positive relationships and interactions with educators that are trusting and responsive to their individual needs.Through these experiences and interactions children will develop a positive understanding of themselves and feel a sense of belonging.We promote a respectful, child safe culture where children concerns are always responded to, and children feel empowered to participate in decisions and provide feedback to educators and staff.
Management and educators will:
- create a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere in which children experience equitable, friendly and genuine interactions with all educators
- meet educator to child ratio and qualification requirements
- role-model appropriate language and behaviour
- support children to be aware of their own feelings as well as the feelings of others
- encourage children to treat all other children with respect
- provide children with the opportunity to explore their dispositions for learning by expressing themselves and their opinions
- ensure children are aware of how to raise concerns or provide feedback
- respond or report to children about how their feedback has been acted upon
- assist the children to build resilience and self-assurance through positive interactions
- guide children’s behaviour positively
- respect the rights, dignity and agency of children
- support children in the early childhood environment
- provide appropriate supervision so children feel safe in their interactions with other children
- speak to children in a positive manner at all times, promoting respect, tolerance and empathy, including the use of non-verbal cues and communication
- engage in meaningful, open interactions that support the acquisition of skills for life and learning of children
- respect each child’s uniqueness, be attuned to, and respond sensitively and appropriately to children’s efforts to communicate and use the child’s own language, communication styles, and culture to enhance interactions
- listen to children and take them seriously; support and encourage children to use appropriate language in their interactions with adults and peers. Educators will extend upon children’s interests and ideas through questions and discussions, supported and made visible in observations, reflections, and programming.
- understand their reporting requirements and respond to any incident, disclosure or suspicion of child abuse or harm
- communicate with children by getting down to their level, using eye contact, and showing respect to the child whilst engaging in and promoting effective communication
- show empathy to children
- ensure that the values, beliefs, and cultural practices of the child and family are considered and respected
- ensure that no child is ever isolated for any reason other than illness, accident or pre-arranged appointment with parental consent. During this time, they will be under adult supervision.
- regularly reflect on their relationships and interactions with children and how these can be improved to benefit each child
- facilitate children’s individual development extending upon their strengths, interests and abilities
Interactions with Families
Effective communication is key to developing and maintaining positive interactions and relationships with others and helps to build trusting and respectful partnerships with families. Educators use positive and open communication with families and siblings in order to create a responsive and inclusive environment for children, staff and families. Interactions with families help to inform educators’ knowledge of each child’s distinctive interests, skills cultures and abilities. This helps to build a positive experience and a safe learning environment that encourages children to expand their knowledge and understandings.
Management and educators will ensure:
- all families are treated equitably without bias or judgement, recognising that each family is unique
- families are provided with information and resources in their first language
- families are asked to identify a preferred method of regular communication with the Service (this may include utilising a translator service)
- families and children are greeted upon arrival in a respectful manner
- they learn the names of family members and use these names when they greet them
- two-way communication is established through leading by example and asking questions and a willingness to offer information about ourselves
- common terminology (not jargon) is used when talking to parents regarding their child’s development
- privacy and confidentiality are respected at all times
- information about another child or family information is never discussed with a parent or visitor
- they remain sensitive to cultural differences amongst families and encourage families to share cultural aspects with the children and educators at the service
- the advice and opinion from other professional expertsare requested, with parental permission, to assist educators develop and implement strategies to support the inclusion of children with additional needs
- they seek additional resources and professional support for families through a range of organisations such as KU Inclusion Support, Area Health and other specific health professional networks
- verbal communication is always open, respectful and honest
- families are provided with up-to-date service information and notices through Daily Reports, newsletters, communal notice boards, emails and sign-in sheets
- they regularly reflect on parent input into the program and make changes where necessary that will best benefit the service and children
- connections between families is promoted and enhanced through inviting families to participate in routines and events at the service
- families are aware of our complaint handling process- (Dealing with Complaints Policy- Family)
Interactions with Staff and educators
The Service recognises that the way educators interact with each other has an effect on the interactions they have with children and families.Educators working within our Service are required to demonstrate mutual respect towards each other and value the contributions made by each educator. This enables our Service to maintain positive relationships and model the type of communication they want children to develop.
To maintain professionalism at all times, educators will:
- engage in professional communication in order to create an effective work environment and to build a positive relationship with educators, children and families. Communication amongst colleagues creates a positive atmosphere and a professional image for families. Communication between staff and families ensures that important information is being passed on consistently.
- champion a child safe culture through their attitudes, behaviours and actions
- collaborate together as a team sharing room roles and responsibilities through the use of a roster where necessary
- be respectful when listening to each other’s point of view and ideas
- maintain effective communication to ensure that teamwork occurs
- use staff meetings to communicate their professional reflections and ideas for continuous improvement as a team
- attend in-service training to update and refresh and add to individual skills and knowledge
- keep up to date with current legislation to child protection including mandatory reporting requirements – (Child Protection, Reportable Conduct Scheme)
- refer to the Dealing with Complaints Policy (Staff) /Procedure if they feel a situation with another educator is not being handled with professionalism, respect, and fairness
- recognise each other’s strengths and value the contribution each person makes to different work roles
- work collaboratively to reach decisions which will enhance the quality of the education and care offered at the Service
- welcome diverse views and perspectives
- work together as a team and engage in open and honest communication at all times
- respect each other’s positions and opinions
- develop and share networks and links with other agencies
- resolve differences promptly and positively and use the experience to develop more effective methods of working together.
To enhance communication and teamwork, Management will:
- provide new educators with relevant information about the Service and program through a Staff Handbook, induction program, and daily communication
- treat educators with respect
- be sensitive to the feelings and needs of educators
- provide constructive feedback to educatorsas part of their professional learning plan support
- value the role and contribution of each educator
- demonstrate commitment to ongoing collaboration and engagement to support staff wellness
- provide opportunities for all educators to have input into the program development and evaluation
- appreciate and utilise educator skills and interests
- provide support, assistance and mentoring to educators
- hold regular educator meetings to encourage and support professional growth and reflective practice
- use appropriate conflict resolution techniques to solve problems
- ensure policies and procedures are up to date regarding communication, expected behaviour and grievances
- provide opportunities for professional development.
To enhance communication and teamwork, educators will:
- maintain privacy and confidentiality
- be respectful, caring and inclusive of all colleagues
- be sensitive to the feelings and needs of other team members
- support colleagues during difficult situations
- provide constructive feedback to each other
- trust each other
- value the role and contribution of colleagues
- appreciate and utilise colleague skills, strengths and interests regardless of qualification and experience
- provide support and assistance to each other
- share responsibilities
- have a flexible attitude towards team roles and responsibilities
- greet each other by name
- show genuine interest in the other person by using active and reflective listening
- communicate ideas and opinions clearly and professionally
- use a communication book or daily diary to pass on messages and record relevant information
- use appropriate conflict resolution techniques to solve problems
- engage in opportunities for professional development.
Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority. (2021). Policy and Procedure Guidelines- Interactions with Children
Australian Human Rights Commission. Child Safe Organisations. https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/childrens-rights/projects/child-safe-organisations
Child Australia Cultural Connections Booklet. (2017).
Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics. (2016).
Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (2009) Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia
Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010. (Amended 2018).
Education and Care Services National Regulations. (2011)
Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations. (2017).
Guide to the National Quality Framework. (2018). (Amended 2020).
NSW Department of Education. (2021). Implementing the Child Safe Standards: A guide for early childhood education and outside school hours care services.
Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (Cth).
Revised National Quality Standard. (2018).
Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (2011) Melbourne Graduate School of Education Evidence Paper Practice Principle 5: Respectful relationships and responsive engagementhttps://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/childhood/providers/edcare/respectrelns.pdf
|POLICY REVIEWED||MAY 2022||NEXT REVIEW DATE||MAY 2023|
|MODIFICATIONS||policy maintenance –Related Policy change of name.no major changes to policyminor formatting edits within texthyperlinks checked and repaired as required|
|POLICY REVIEWED||PREVIOUS MODIFICATIONS||NEXT REVIEW DATE|
|AUGUST 2021||edits to policy guided by ACECQA Interactions with Children policy guidelines (August 2021)inclusion of additional regulationsinclusion of commitment to Child Safe Standards to ensure a child safe culture within the service||MAY 2022|
|MAY 2021||Policy checked for currency||MAY 2022|
|MAY 2020||additional content added to sections as highlightedrewording of some points to ensure clarification some statements moved into interactions with staff and educatorsminor adjustments to formatting for consistencyadditional sources utilised within policy as referenced||MAY 2021|