When it comes to early childhood education, “safety first” doesn’t just apply to physical rules and regulations. Creating a “safe environment” also incorporates children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
As children begin their early learning journey at our Early Birds centres, it is critical that they feel valued and cared for.
At Parfrey Road Education & Childcare in Rochedale, we endeavour to make our centre feel as warm and welcoming as possible.
As Centre Director, Debbie Morris says, “It’s a home away from home.”
So, in their first few weeks of arriving, we make a particular effort to encourage children to explore their own interests and create their own learning experiences.
In order for this child-driven environment to be established, successful ‘adult/child relationships’ must occur. This means educators must work together with families and carers to use information from homelife and the centre to gain insight into how each child will learn best.
The hope is to encourage all children to feel confident, worthy and rewarded for their ideas. This can be asking children questions, observing their actions and behaviours, or as simple as giving a hug on a rainy day.
As Debbie says, many adults sometimes overlook the fact that children simply need to feel understood and “cuddles help them to feel safe, confident, secure & loved.”
The most important thing when it comes to being an early childhood educator, is that our children feel safe to express whatever is on their mind. For it’s this freedom that opens all kinds of exciting possibilities, explorations and discoveries.