Young children keep us on our toes when it comes to ensuring we are always doing our best to help them to learn, have fun and achieve their milestones. Help children excel and thrive in an education environment by developing a relationship in which the child feels supported and encouraged. There are many ways to achieve these relationships. Read on for three of our top tips.
1. Genuine Care
Children need to feel safe and secure to be able to thrive. Show children in your care that they are safe and can trust you to look after them. This can be done through simple gestures throughout the day. When they fall over, instead of a response like "You're OK James, get up." try asking "Are you OK, James". Using this language shows the child that their feelings are important and that you're welcoming the child to tell you how they feel. If a child is upset because it's time to go inside, show them that you care that they are feeling sad. Instead of being dismissive of the child's emotions, try saying "James I know you love having fun outside, I like being outside too. We will play outside again tomorrow". Through simple language tweaks, over time, children learn that you genuinely care about what is important to them, contributing to them feeling safe and secure in your care.
2. A Sense of Belonging
It's human nature to need a sense of belonging. As children get older, they seek to fulfil this need by forming friendships. However, in the Early Childhood Education Environment, children are more often playing individually or in side by side play. To create a sense of belonging, schedule in plenty of group time using fun activities like singing, dancing, and group reading time. This helps to keep children in the same area at the same time while participating in the same activity. Providing children with the opportunity to know where their cubby hole is, where their artwork is, and where their name and birthday is noted on the wall all help children to understand that they are a part of their class group assisting with feeling like they belong.
3. Give Praise and Encouragement
Helping children to feel confident is a powerful way to help them thrive in all aspects of their life. When children feel confident, they are more likely to try new things from answering questions to learning a new skill like climbing higher in the playground, naming a colour correctly or counting. When children are not feeling confident, they tend to shy away from trying their best, as they are scared of doing or saying the wrong thing. Use encouragement like "Wow James, you're so strong now, look how high you can jump" or "Would you like to try climbing up the ladder on your own? I'll be right here if you need me". Another example is through language when a question is answered incorrectly; instead of saying something, like "No that colour is Orange not Red" try "You nearly got it James, that colour is Orange not Red but it was a good try". The child still learns that the colour is orange, but they will be more likely to feel supported and encouraged even though they got the colour wrong.
At Venture Education, we offer courses and qualifications to support Early Childhood Education and Care professionals to grow their knowledge and careers. View our courses on our website here.