Interactions with Children Policy
- Policy Statement
- Strategies for Implementation
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Legislation and Considerations
- Sources, Useful Resources and Related Policies
1. POLICY STATEMENT
A positive atmosphere and the wellbeing of children within an education and care setting is promoted through attentive care and quality interactions with children. Emotional development and social relationships are enhanced through thoughtful and sophisticated approaches to conversation, discussion and promotion of children’s language and communication.
Children who experience relationships that are built on respect, fairness, cooperation and empathy are given the opportunity to develop these qualities themselves. When children have positive experiences of interactions they develop an understanding of themselves as significant and respected, and feel a sense of belonging.
Educators at our service will:
- be responsive to children’s strengths, interests, abilities;
- provide opportunities to become self-reliant and develop self-esteem;
- uphold children’s dignity, rights and agency;
- provide positive guidance and support towards acceptable behaviour;
- promote a safe, secure and nurturing environment;
- be authentic and responsive;
- be based in fairness, acceptance and empathy with respect for cultural and linguistic rights.
2. STRATEGIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Children’s Rights, Family and Cultural Values
Interactions within the setting are greatly enhanced when children’s rights and family and cultural values are given due consideration and respect. Administrative procedures, initial conversations, documentation and ongoing communication with children and families are a reference point for interactions and a foundation for authentic and respectful communication.
Educators must use listening as a foundation for interactions. Listening is based on:
- by leaving spaces in conversations and communication;
- suspending judgement; and
- giving full attention to children as they communicate.
Truly attending to children’s communication promotes a strong culture of listening.
Children and Families
A culture of respectful interaction is promoted when children’s attempts to communicate are valued. Turn taking and regulating children’s conversations promotes active engagement. Respectful communication with families generates greater confidence in interacting.
Reflection and Consideration
Time is dedicated to reflecting upon interactions within children. Reflections should consider how to spend extended periods engaged in interactions with children that comprise communication and listening.
Educators model positive interactions when they:
- show care, empathy and respect for children, educators and staff and families;
- learn and use effective communication strategies.
Principles for Behavioural Management
Educators respect individual children’s needs and differences in age, ability and experience regarding issues surrounding behavior management and they are happy to discuss individual family expectations with parents. There may be times when educators will need to negotiate management strategies with parents to suit the needs of individual children.
- Wherever possible, children and educators will negotiate and determine boundaries and rules.
- Rules will be reasonable considering the age, development and individual characteristics of the children.
- Rules will be consistently enforced.
- Children will be encouraged for desirable behaviour.
- It is the behavior that is praised or criticised, not the child.
- Educators present a good example through positive role modelling.
- Children are encouraged to make appropriate choices.
The Role of the Educator
In response to unacceptable behaviour, educators:
- Redirect the child or remove the child from the situation if necessary.
- Advise children of the consequences of continuing with the behaviour.
- Remind children of desirable behaviour.
- Explain to children how behaviour results in consequences.
- Actively listen to children’s feeling and discuss the rules.
- Help children to return to play.
3. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Nominated Supervisor will:
- Ensure that the service operates in line with the Education and Care Services National Law and National regulations 2011 with regard to the delivery and collection of children at all times.
- Establish practice guidelines that ensure interactions with children are given priority and those interactions are authentic, just and respect difference.
- Ensure all educators are aware of the service’s expectations regarding positive, respectful and appropriate behaviour, and acceptable responses and reactions when working with children and families.
- Ensure all educators have access to relevant professional development.
- Guide professional development and practice to promote interactions with children that are positive and respectful.
- Consider the size and composition of groups to ensure all children are provided with the best opportunities for quality interactions and relationships with each other and with adults at the service.
- Ensure that the educational program contributes to the development of children who have a strong sense of wellbeing and identity, and are connected, confident, involved and effective learners and communicators.
- Develop and implement educational programs, in accordance with an approved learning framework, that are based on the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child, and take into account the individual differences of each child.
- Ensure that educators provide education and care to children in a way that encourages children to express themselves and their opinions and allows children to undertake experiences that develop self-reliance and self-esteem.
- Ensure that the Nominated Supervisor and all educators members at the service who work with children are aware that it is an offence to subject a child to any form of corporal punishment, or any discipline that is unreasonable or excessive in the circumstance (National Law: Section 166) (Regulation 176).
- Inform the Regulatory Authority in writing within 24 hours of receiving a notifiable complaint (Section 174(4), Regulation 176(2)(b)).
- Inform the Regulatory Authority in writing within 24 hours of a serious incident occurring at the service (Section 174(4), Regulation 176).
- Act in accordance with the obligations outlined in this policy.
- Acknowledge children’s complex relationships and sensitively intervene in ways that promote consideration and alternative perspectives and social inclusion.
- Respect children’s agency and encourage them to express themselves and their opinions.
- Maintain the dignity and rights of each child at all times.
- Have regard to the cultural and family values, age and the physical and intellectual development and abilities of each child being educated and cared for.
- Offer positive guidance and encouragement towards acceptable behaviour.
- Ensure that routines such as toileting, nappy change and rest times are used for positive one to one interactions with children and a time that they can get to know more about the child.
- Genuinely seek children’s input, respect their ideas and take their suggestions on board.
- Form warm relationships with each child.
- Read and comply with this policy.
- Engage in open communication with educators about their child.
- Inform educators of events or incidents that may impact on their child’s behaviour at the service (e.g. moving house, a new sibling).
- Inform educators of any concerns regarding their child’s behaviour or the impact of other children’s behaviour.
- Work collaboratively with educators and others to develop or review an individual behavior guidance plan for their child, where appropriate.
4. LEGISLATION AND CONSIDERATIONS
- Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010: Sections 166, 167
- Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011: 73, 74, 155, 156, 157, 168(2)(j)
- Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
- Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
5. SOURCES, USEFUL RESOURCES AND RELATED POLICIES
Policy adopted: 12 September 2016
For review: March 2018