“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship”
As we begin the year at Flinders we welcome many new families and children in our major annual intake. Existing children, families and educators are also transitioning to new Houses, exploring the dynamics of new groups and environments. These transitions are mindfully planned, however the most carefully laid plans are never equal to the reality of differing personalities and family contexts that come together through January and February.
Whilst it would be easy to get caught up in the busy-ness inherent with discovering the new, educators are mindful that the success and happiness of our coming year is pinned on this time, as we establish respectful, reciprocal relationships with children and families.
As we move through this process of building relationships, we pay attention to our guiding documents; Belonging, Being and Becoming The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) and the Flinders Philosophy. The EYLF tells us;
“Educators who give priority to nurturing relationships and providing children with consistent emotional support can assist children to develop the skills and understandings they need to interact positively with others” (p12)
We interpret this to mean that relationships come first, before all other learning; we must prioritise the establishment and maintenance of relationships with children. The Flinders Philosophy states;
“Our environments are a place of belonging, where there is space for everyone to feel safe, to feel they are heard, and to share their ideas, understandings and learning.”
This feeling of safety, and the freedom to express ones self, is so unique; each child, indeed each human, requires different conditions. Through our practice as educators, we must remain open, aware, mindful and respectful. We must watch carefully, listen closely, and honour the path to relationship with each individual as it unfolds.
This work can be messy and unpredictable, involving many steps backwards and sideways as well as forwards. But it is essential to our practice, essential to children’s wellbeing, essential to all future learning pathways.
And so, in these early weeks, we move gently, kindly and slowly with one another. Our arms are open, as are our ears, eyes and hearts. We act, we reflect, and we try again. We move forward, sometimes in great leaps but more often on tip toes. But forward none the less.
We look forward to walking alongside these children and families for many more weeks to come.