Relationships in toddler and infant early childhood settings matter.
More than matter. Relationships are crucial for children's well-being and learning, not just now but in the future. So why when I look at curriculum plans for nursery and toddler rooms do I struggle to find any mention of relationships amongst the colour recognition, farm animals, numbers and Under the Sea themes?
Do we still lack confidence in sharing what we know to be important?
Do we struggle to find a way to record our planning cycle for infants and toddlers in a way that is meaningful and effective, and not just a watered down version of the preschool curriculum??
- My challenge to you is to challenge yourself to write about young children's relationships - with self, with others, with their learning environment, with the natural world.
- My challenge to you is to learn as much as you can about how young children learn and develop, so that you can confidently share it. So that you can see the little moments for what they are - the big moments. So you can gather a rich record of your discoveries and wonderings about each child. Educational approaches such as Magda Gerber's Educaring approach; brain research; attachment theory - become an expert and then shout it to the rooftops.
- My challenge to you is to throw away the box system of planning that just beckons you to fill it with busy work, and experiment with new ways of planning that follow the needs of your primary care group of children. Keep going until you find something that works for you (Hint - there is no magic template!)
Make relationships so central that when you walk into the room you can see it, read about it, feel it, understand it, hear it. Put the relationships back where they belong - at the very heart of your curriculum.
Please feel free to copy and print the image in this post to display for families - it might make a great starting point for discussion, or a springboard for your pedagogical documentation.
Or build on it with quotes and snippets of educational research and theory. Illustrate it with photographic examples from your own room, of different times of the day. Or pop it up in your team room to prompt documentation about relationships.
How do relationships guide your curriculum decision making?