Building strong and reciprocal relationships

7 May 2021

Building strong relationships with grandparents

Principle 4 of our early childhood curriculum is about relationships “that children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places and things” (Ministry of Education, 2017, p.21).  

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At Treetops we strive to provide a family-like atmosphere. Some of our teachers are also parents, so we understand how stressful it can be for parents to maintain a balance between their work and home lives. That’s why we aspire to create a home-away-from-home where teachers and staff are like an extended family. 

Children thrive in environments where they feel a strong sense of belonging. Each room has kaiako (teachers) who are passionate about the age group of children they work with, who know and understand child development and how to respond with positivity, flexibility, care and empathy. Teachers working with the different age groups may implement different approaches and teaching practices however warm and respectful relationships are at the forefront of everything we do. Teachers often engage in professional development to keep learning and growing. 

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Our learning environments are flexible so as to meet the individual needs of the child. We aspire to build relationships that are calm and peaceful where children feel unrushed and unhurried and develop friendships and mutual relationships with others in their own time. Our primary caregivers in The Nest and The Tui rooms (refer to blog - Primary Caregivers, 06th August 2020) ensure that best caregiving practices and approaches are implemented to nurture and support our infants and toddlers. For example mealtime rituals in The Kea room help to support children’s emotional and physical well-being through respectful practice where tamariki (children) have an opportunity to contribute and learn self-help and care skills. 

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Children’s sense of belonging in the environment plays a vital role in how well the child settles and builds relationships with others. We make time to chat with parents at the beginning and end of the day and maintain communication through our online platform Educa, through newsletters and on room notice boards.  

Parents are valued as part of our big family where kaiako work towards developing a trusting relationship with children and families. Centre-wide cultural celebrations are strongly embedded in our ongoing practice. At our annual parent night, there are formal presentations shared with whanau where they can see, hear and experience what we are achieving through projects and inquiries and have the opportunity to participate. Our fun nights such as the disco night are an enjoyable time for children and parents to enjoy good food and entertainment in a relaxed atmosphere and to build friendships with others.  

Building strong relationships with grandparents

Our open-door policy means parents can come in and spend time with their child especially when their child is transitioning into the centre. Kaiako do careful observations, keep documentation and apply best practice to build relationships with each child. This helps us to know a child’s individual needs, interests, dispositions, learning progress and how to support them alongside culturally appropriate practices that are important to parents. 

We would encourage you to visit our centres to experience how we foster relationships with children and families.