Observing to Build Relationships with Children

a boy stacks blocks while a teacher helps them stay uprightObservation leads education staff to a deeper understanding of the child as a human being. In turn, this leads to a greater capacity to engage in a responsive relationship with the child. Relationships between caring, trusted adults and the infants and toddlers they care for provide the secure base that is the foundation for learning. When infants and toddlers feel safe with, connected to, and supported by the adults around them, they are more likely to explore and experiment.

Observation also helps staff build relationships with children with whom they may not initially feel a strong attachment or emotional connection.1 It provides an opportunity to slow down, pay attention in a deliberate way, and look for things about a child that may not have been noticed before. Even in the most challenging situations, finding one new insight may be the means for opening the door to a deeper understanding of the child and the true beginning of relationship.

1Petersen and Wittmer, Endless Opportunities, 94.