RELATIONSHIP – What a Child Needs
by Narelle Nettelbeck
Urie Bronfenbrenner was a Russian born, American psychologist who is still known today for his theories regarding child development. He wrote books and said some amazing things about children. One of my favourite Bronfenbrenner quotes is, ‘Each child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.’
‘Each child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.’
Children need adults in their life who DELIGHT in them; whose eyes light up when they see the child, adults who give the child their full attention when they want to tell their stories, adults who genuinely care about them. Some children come into our care who do not have any such adult in their life. Educators working in Education and Care NEED to be the adult who is ‘irrationally crazy’ about each and every child. Sure, it is natural not to ‘click’ with every child, but a quality educator will set that aside and make every effort to genuinely connect with each child.
I looked up GENUINELY in the dictionary and it says: – in a truthful way – to the fullest degree, properly. As educators, we have standards and frameworks that tell us what ‘properly’ looks like, but at the end of the day, a quality educator is the person who will advocate for every child’s needs. A quality educator knows that a child’s first need is attachment, (relationship and connection), and how vital it is to be that irrationally crazy adult in a child’s life. What might an irrationally crazy educator look like?
I believe it is one who:
- Is enthusiastic and brings energy, fresh ideas and passion to work.
- Smiles and allows the smile to reach their eyes.
- Tells each child they are important.
- Is available, listens to each child’s stories. Gives each child TIME and full attention. (Children know they can count on this educator!)
- Demonstrates empathy and respect.
- Allows children to express their feelings and emotions.
- Allows children to make choices, guides behaviour in a positive manner, is always fair.
- Encourages exploration and independence in a safe environment.
An excellent TED talk to view in relation to this article is Rita Pierson, Every Kid Needs a Champion:
Narelle was predominently a Family Day Care Educator, choosing to work in the home environment preferring smaller groups for children. Narelle has over 16 years’ experience as a FDC Educator. 4 years ago Narelle accepted a position 2 days per week as a trainer / assessor in Early Childhood Education and Care in TAFE while working as a FDC Educator 3 days per week. 16 months ago, Narelle closed her FDC service and is now working as a full time trainer / assessor for a private RTO.