2 Positive Relationships

Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander

This chapter focuses on positive relationships.  Relationships are the basis for teaching and learning throughout our lives.   Warm, sensitive, and responsive relationships help people feel secure. Positive relationships build safe and secure environments to help people thrive physically, benefit from learning experiences, and cooperate with others.

As you read about positive relationships; think about what you should be seeing and hearing as you observe relationships in the six settings.   Notice how programs promote positive relationships among all children and adults. Programs should encourage each person’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and fosters each child’s ability to contribute as a responsible community member.

Look for the following behaviors in the programs you visit:

  • Children and adults feel welcome when they visit the program. Teachers help new children adjust to the program environment and make friends with other children.
  • Teaching staff engage in warm, friendly conversations with the children and encourage and recognize children’s work and accomplishments.
  • Children are encouraged to play and work together.
  • Teachers help children resolve conflicts by identifying feelings, describing problems, and trying alternative solutions. Teaching staff never physically punish children.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize, document, analyze, and evaluate national best practices in early childhood education, in a variety of delivery models, by observing in programs serving diverse children from birth through kindergarten including children with special needs and dual language learners.
  • Observe and critique pedagogical approaches in early childhood settings.
  • Recognize and analyze ethical and unethical professional behaviors in early childhood settings.

To achieve the first objective, read the criteria on Pages 2-9 of NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and Accreditation Criteria & Guidance for Assessment  for Relationship Standard.  As you read the rest of the articles you will see how they illustrate the practice of the criteria.

Begin reading the article:  Petersen, S., & Wittmer, D. (2008). Relationship-Based Infant Care. YC: Young Children, 63(3), 40-42.  Peterson and Wittmer emphasize the importance of being physically and emotionally available to children.  What behaviors are you observing or saw that indicate responsive educators?  

A  student asked:  Do we really need human interaction?

I responded:  Human interaction is essential.  You may remember studying feral children in your child psychology class.  We need interaction to learn language and social skills.   For more information, read the 2003 University of Washington article  Social interaction plays key role in how infants learn language.

Next read Manaster, H. & Jobe, M. (2012) Supporting Preschoolers’ Positive Peer Relationships, Young children 12-17. The article relates to the NAEYC standard 1.C.: Helping Children Make Friends. If you notice children not getting along in your observations; you might want to look closely to see:

  • Do children and adults feel welcome in the classroom?
  • Are the educators engaged in warm, friendly conversations with the children?
  • Do the teachers encourage and recognize children’s work and accomplishments?
  • Do the teachers encourage children to play together?
  • Do teachers identify feelings and describe problems?
  • Do they dictate how children should interact?

Relationships between adults should also be examined.   The adult relationships whether with families or colleagues often present opportunities to recognize and analyze ethical and unethical professional behaviors in early childhood settings.  Read Rosenow, N.  (2012, January/February) All the Teachers are Friends Here:  The Case for Strong Relationships Among Adults Who Work with Young Children. Exchange. 42-44. (Available at the BSU library and likely at your college library.)

A  student said:  I don’t think it is important that the teachers are friends, as long as they are friendly to each other, especially at work. I’m glad she shared her words of wisdom.  I prefer using the word neighbors rather than friends to describe classroom relationships whether adult to adult, child to child, or adult to child.  Another student shared: Our family worker is the reason our parents come to parent meetings. She tries to provide food, is silly with the parents and children and she is always available to parents so they form a bond with her.  This student effectively highlighted the importance of relationships to the program community.

Relationships with Families

A student stated:  I know there are children who need the escape from a negative home life.

 I wonder what is a negative home life?  To help you think about interacting with diverse families, read the  scenario below:

You are a teacher in the 4-year-old room at Kids Place child care center. Daequan and Mathew are two children in your class. Both were born at 30 weeks’ gestation and had hospital stays of about 6 weeks. Both are in generally good health and are monitored for respiratory illnesses. For the most part, the boys are reaching their developmental milestones, with slight delays in language and emotional development.

At the present time, Daequan and his mother, Shania, are living in a homeless shelter. Their home burned down 2 weeks ago and they had nowhere else to go. Matthew is part of an intact family. Ralph and Sue are his parents, and he has an older brother, Nick. The family lives in an affluent community a mile from Kids Place.

  • Which child would appear to be experiencing a greater number of risk factors that can affect his development?
  • With which family would it appear to be easier to develop a partnership? Why?

Then you learn:

Daequan and his mother have a number of extended family members available for support and will be moving into an apartment within a month’s time. Shania has contacted a number of local agencies for assistance to rebuild her and her son’s lives.

Matthew’s father travels 3 weeks out of the month. Sue is on medication for depression and has recently started drinking around the boys during the evenings and weekends. She turns down offers of help from her friends and family and tells them everything is fine with her marriage and her ability to raise her sons.

What questions might you or others ask to find out “the whole story”?

The last 2 articles justify the importance of postivie relationships.  As you read

  1. Biermeier, M. A. (2015, November). Inspired by Reggio Emilia: Emergent Curriculum in Relationship-Driven Learning EnvironmentsYoung Children, 72-79.  AND
  2. Dombro, A., Jablon, J. & Stetson, C. (2010) Powerful Interactions Begin with YouTeaching Young Children, 4(1). 12-14.

think about why relationships matter and how relationships support or fuel challenging behavior and the development of self-regulation. How do the articles demonstrate practices that create a predictable, consistent, and harmonious classroom?

Student Quotes

You as the teacher need to find something positive in that child to nurture and go from there. Words of wisdom, there is usually something likable in everyone.

They don’t need another adult telling them they are bad. They need more positive reinforcement. My question is how do you control your own emotions and anger to get past the child’s negative behavior in order to help them? Look for teachers showing emotional control when you observe.  For me taking deep breaths helps.

image
CC0 Public Domain

 

How can we encourage parents to be more optimistic about their child’s works?

In conclusion, people feel secure and safe when we have warm, sensitive, and responsive relationships. Positive relationships support physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual growth and health.

Challenge 1 – Option A: Contemporary Issues Discussion

What?

Look for recent events or developments in the real world that are related to our readings and assignments about positive relationships.  Analyze the current affair to identify the connections to course materials in discussion postings, blog entries, or in small group class discussions.

So What?

This technique deepens your understanding of course related ideas and concepts and guides you to apply course ideas to your work with children and families.  I hope to stimulate your curiosity and that you see the relevance of the materials we are reading.   You will reflect upon your learning to deepen your understanding. The discussion forum will serve as evidence of your learning and how you connect course concepts to your life and the world around us.

Now What?

Create a response to the discussion forum with the following elements:

  1. The citation of the News or journal article source written in APA format
  2. Summary of the article including the who, what, where, when, why and how
  3. Relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the article reflects. Refer to specific readings or videos from the course.
  4. Reflection where you relate the current issue to your life.
  5. Given what you learned about positive relationships in the course, what might you advise the people described in the article to do now that would help them to move forward most productively?

Adapted from:  Barkley, E. F. (2010).  SET 29:  Contemporary issues journal.  In Student engagement techniques:  A handbook for college faculty (pp.276-279).  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

Contemporary Issues Discussion Forum Grading Rubric

Adapted from Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and tools for Using Rubrics, edited by Terrel L. Rhodes. Copyright 2010 by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.”

Point Value Emerging Understanding

0-2

Acceptable 3 Acceptable 4 Target 5
Critically evaluates information and the source ethically & legally The source is primarily focused on a personal opinion. The relevance to the course concept is questionable.

The information was published over a year ago.

Student correctly uses 0-1 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is minimal analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.

 

Student correctly uses 2 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source.  The information is relevant and current. There is some analysis of the source of the information or content of the information.

 

Student correctly uses 3 of the following strategies:

1.      APA citations

2.     APA references

3.     Appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

4.     Distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Selects an appropriate source that is important to the concept.  The information is relevant, current (within the past year) and the student critically and completely analyzed the expertise of the author and bias or point of view of the information.

Student correctly uses APA citations and references.  The student makes appropriate choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting.

The student distinguishes between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution.

Connects to ECPK 480 content Has difficulty determining key concepts. The type of information selected does not relate to concepts. The reader has to guesses as to the relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts.  The student determines a few course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear.  The student determines most key course concepts. The relationship of course principles, ideas, and concepts that the news article reflects is clear and logical.  The student effectively determines key course concepts.
Initial participation and effective communication Did not participate in the Discussion forum until Wednesday or later in the week.

Did not use examples to illustrate ideas or include an open-ended question with response.

The writing was often choppy, with frequent errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or other writing mechanics, such as imprecise or inappropriate language and vocabulary.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing included problems with organization and meaning.

The writing was generally clear and professional in tone.

There were several spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar.

Responded to forum by Tuesday at 11:59PM.

Used an example to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

The writing was organized and generally clear and professional in tone.  There were minimal spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar errors.

Responded to forum by Monday at 11:59PM.

Used multiple examples to illustrate ideas.

Asked an open-ended question with response.

Polished writing, almost free of errors, with consistent professional tone and clarity of language.

Uses information to engage in conversation with colleagues The reply includes information that is fragmented or used inappropriately such as misquoted, taken out of context, or incorrectly paraphrased.

Replied to 1 peer (a TOTAL of 1 posting this week)

Did not replied to peers.

Replied by communicating information from sources; to at least 2 peers (a TOTAL of 3 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply.

Replied by logically communicating information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

The student forgot to include an open-ended question with each reply

Replied in depth by communicating, organizing, and synthesizing information from sources; to at least 3 peers (a TOTAL of 4 postings for the week).

To help stimulate further thinking and conversation, the student ends each of the replies with an open-ended question.

Challenge 1 – Option B Reading Reflection Form

After reading and watching; to prepare for discussing positive relationships either online or in person, I invite you to complete the reading reflection form:

 

Use the table below as you complete the readings and/or watch the videos as a note taking method.  Using your notes as recorded on the table, write out 3 paragraphs to summarize your ideas. Make sure to use multiple examples to illustrate ideas and to ask an open-ended question to invite others to engage in your discussion.

Connections Extensions Curiosities
Relate ideas from the reading to learning in other courses or life experience. How did ideas from the reading extend your thinking? What are you curious about?  What do you want to explore further?   Why?
 

 

 

 

Challenge 2

Narrative 2:  Positive Relationships

In the narrative you will compare your observations to the NAEYC Standards from your second observation site.  This document may be helpful in preparing your draft.

Narrative Section NAEYC Standard(s)

 

Teachers Build Positive Relationships with Families 1.A.
Teachers Build Positive Relationships with Children 1.B, 1.D
Teachers Build Positive Child-Child Relationships: Scaffolding of Children’s Social 1.C
Teachers Effectively Manage Challenging Behaviors 1.E, 1.F

Outline

  1. Teachers Build Positive Relationships with Families.  RATING: _____.
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of how the adults establish and maintain positive relationships within the program, including efforts to connect with families in ways that make them true partners with the program. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS where you restate and defend the rating. To achieve a target score, make sure the conclusions reached carefully consider impact of design decisions on quality, are fully supported by the evidence provided, and clearly linked to NAEYC standards of quality.  Your conclusions should show a clear sense of which evidence has a significant impact on quality and which has less weight.  To achieve a target score, remember to go beyond what is included in the program, discuss what is not there, why it should be, and what it would look like if it were there.  Remember that the evidence and its interpretation need to fully support the ratings given.
  1. Teachers Build Positive Relationships with Children. RATING: _____.
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of how the adults establish and maintain positive relationships within the program. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)
  1. Teachers Build Positive Child-Child Relationships: Scaffolding of Children’s Social Relationships and Sense of Community. RATING: _____.
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of how the adults establish and maintain positive relationships within the program. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above)
  1. Teachers Effectively Prevent & Manage Challenging Behaviors. RATING: _____
    1. Provide a detailed and varied description that give a comprehensive view of how the adults establish and maintain positive relationships within the program, including efforts to connect with families in ways that make them true partners with the program. Make sure to consistently present evidence and then interpret it.
    2. CONCLUSIONS (see #1b above).

 image

 

 

NARRATIVE 2 EXAMPLE – Positive Relationships

Teachers build positive relationships with families: Rating 6

During my observation in the kindergarten classroom I was able to observe the classroom teacher building positive relationships with parents, children, helping guiding child-child interaction that is positive in the classroom and also the teacher managing behaviors that were happening during the time I was in the classroom. They were minor behaviors that occurred. The first thing I was able to notice when I walked into the kindergarten classroom was that there was a basket that had the children’s homework folders in them. I took a quick glance at the one that was on the top and saw parent-teacher communicator folder (1.A.01). Standard 1.A.01 states that the teachers work in partnership with families and are able to establish and maintain regular, ongoing two-way communication. I asked the classroom teacher if that was her way of communicating with parents on a weekly basis and she said yes. I was able to find out that the parent-teacher communicator folder has one side for papers that can stay at home and on the other side the papers must be returned to school. The teacher was also able to tell me that she sends home weekly newsletters to the parents so they will be able to see what their children are working on during each week so they will be able to help their child at home with the skills. The Kindergarten teacher communicates on a regular basis with families to talk about their child’s individual needs and to be able to see what she can do in the classroom to best support the child so they will be able to do the best they can. I asked the teacher about how the children in her class had either a smooth or not smooth transition between home and going to school the first week of school this year (1.A.03 a-b). Standard 1.A.03 a-b state that the classroom teacher communicates with the children’s families in regards to the child’s individual needs and to ensure there is a smooth transition between home and school. She was able to tell me that for the most part the children had a smooth transition and only one or two children came in the first week crying and missing their parents.

Conclusions:

I overall gave this section the rating of a six because I was able to collect enough evidence such as the parent-teacher communicator folder that allows the teacher to have a regular and ongoing two-way communication with each individual child’s parents on a weekly basis. The teacher in the classroom also sends home with each child in their folder a newsletter biweekly for the parents so they are aware of what their child is currently learning in school. The teacher also is able to communicate with parents to learn more about each individual child’s learning and to see how she is able to incorporate that into the lesson planning. The rating of six is also given because I was able to ask the teacher if the children had a smooth transition into kindergarten from leaving home and also that the teacher shared information with parents about classroom expectations, rules, and routines.

Teachers build positive relationships with children: Rating: 6

            I was able to observe the teacher in the classroom foster the children’s emotional well-being by modeling respect for the children in her class and how she is able to create a positive classroom climate. The teacher talked to each child with the same level of respect that they deserve to get (1.B.01). Standard 1.B.01 states that the teaching staff in the kindergarten classroom foster children’s emotional well-being by demonstrating respect for children and creating a positive emotional climate as reflected upon behaviors such as laughter, social conversations and affection.The teacher gave constant eye-contact to a child that was talking to her and she also always had a smile on and her positive behavior reflected upon the children by them being able to tell her something they found interesting about the book she read to them after they got back from lunch (1.B.02). The classroom teacher always sought out to look after the children and was consistent with each child’s individual physical and emotional care. After she was finished reading the chapter to the children after lunch she was able to predict and tell the children that she saw two children with their heads down on the table sleeping (1.B.03 a-b). This standard states that the teaching staff are consistent and predictable in their physical and emotional care for all children in the classroom. When the teacher had a group of children at the yellow table working on new spelling words she was able to encourage each child and recognize a child’s accomplishment when they were able to spell one of the words correctly without help from the teacher (1.B.04). I was able to observe that the teacher is a secure base for the children in her classroom. She is able to respond to a child’s positive initiations, feelings, emotions by providing them immediate comfort when she noticed one of the children looked sad and tired while sitting at the table as she was reading to the class. The teacher encouraged the children to express their emotions whether they were positive or negative so she would be able to comprehend how they were feeling at a given time so she would be able to provide comfort and support for the children in her class (1.B.05 a-d). The teacher along with other school personnel who came in to help an individual child with their specific needs whether it was social development or cognitive development. One of the children in the class has a cognitive development delay and seeks extra support from the other school personnel that was in the classroom (1.B.07 a-b). There is no physical punishment in the classroom. Lastly, the teacher frequently listens to children with the respect and attention they deserve (1.B.09).

Conclusions:

Overall, this part received the score of six because all of the criteria was met and I gave specific examples to almost every standard that was in the section. The teacher uses respect and focuses her full attention on the children in the classroom. She cares about their emotional well-being and encourages them when she sees they are doing a good job so they receive positive feedback which will lead to the child trusting the teacher and they will learn that they can talk to her if they have an issue with another child that is showing negative emotions in the classroom.

Teachers build positive child-child relationships: scaffolding of children’s social relationships and sense of community: Rating: 6

While I was observing in the kindergarten classroom I was able to notice that the teacher was helping a couple of children in her class make friends with some of her other students when they had free play time before lunch. The teacher in the classroom supports children’s social development of friendship and want them to make and maintain friendships with peers in the classroom and in the other kindergarten classrooms. She provides ample amount of time for opportunity for children to be able to play with one another during free play (1.C.02). The classroom teacher also supports her children in her class as they continue practicing building friendships by helping them entering play with other children and having them sustain in play, and enhancing play so all children feel welcomed to play with one another (1.C.03 a-c). The teacher also helps the children to be able to identify their feelings and to describe a problem that is occurring in the classroom. There was one little boy in the classroom that the teacher had to talk to and remind him that everyone in the classroom needs to follow the rules and to play nicely with one another. I was able to observe the teacher model positive peer interaction with another teacher who came into the classroom to help one of the children who needs extra guidance in the classroom. They both took turns talking and being nice to one another. For example, the classroom teacher asked the other teacher if she could pass the blue crayon. The classroom teacher identified that it was nice of the other teacher to be able to pass the blue crayon for her to use (1.C.04 a). The classroom teacher and the other teacher showed the child who has the cognitive development delay a way to resolve a conflict by being able to identify feelings.

Conclusions:

I overall gave this section a rating of six since I was able to observe the classroom teacher help other children in the class branch out and talk to another child and to play with them during free time, she was able to model positive interaction with another teacher so the children will be able to see what it looks like to portray a positive interaction in the classroom, and also the teacher is helping the children in her class maintain a positive relationship with everyone in her class and along with the other kindergarten classes.

Teachers Effectively Prevent and Manage Challenging Behaviors: Rating: 4

I was able to observe one of the children in the kindergarten classroom whining which can also be a challenging behavior that ended up being ignored by the teacher before there was an opportunity for the teacher to positively reinforce the behavior that was occurring. Instead of reducing the challenging behavior the teacher focused on teaching the child social, communication, and emotional regulation skills instead of reducing the child whining (1.E.03 a). I was able to see the teacher focus using environmental modifications in the classroom, having adult and or peer support for a child who is having difficulty in the classroom, and other teaching strategies to support the children’s appropriate behavior that is displayed in the classroom. During writing center, the teacher was able to manage and take control of the group of children she had at her table while going over the week’s vocabulary activity she had planned for them to do (1.E.03 b). I also wasn’t able to observe the teacher respond to a challenging behavior since the children were all using positive behavior in the classroom when they were working on vocabulary words except for the child who was whining only because he needed extra help with the activity from the assistant that was also in the room. The teacher was able to tell me that she manages challenging behaviors by talking to the children individually and having the children tell them what the problem is and then resolve the issue to be able to move on with the daily routine.

Conclusions:

I overall give this section a rating of four for the teacher effectively preventing and managing challenging behaviors in the classroom. I gave the rating of four because there is still room for improvement since for standard 1.E.03 a, the teacher really didn’t focus on the child’s whining which was the challenging behavior and instead she was teaching the child different ways to be social, communicate with others and to also teach emotional regulation skills. The teacher was able to use adult support from herself to help maintain the children’s appropriate behavior during the writing center activity. I also wish that I could have witnessed how the teacher would have handled a more challenging behavior other than one of the children whining during writing center time.

 

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Positive Relationships by Dr. Susan Eliason and Gwen Alexander is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book

Feedback/Errata

Comments are closed.