We all feel like we are respectful to children, right? But what does being respectful really mean? We speak kindly to them and give them choices, but what else can we do? Here are a few different ideas for fostering respect in your service.
- Like me, did you always slap up the entire collection of work children had done-plastering the art work over every wall and space? Try getting children to reflect on their own work and get them to pick one that they feel is important to display. Help the children to build knowledge and skills about how important art is displayed, perhaps visit an art gallery. Help the children think about how they would like it displayed- collect proper frames, or make them. Choose a special space for each piece of children’s work that you do hang on the wall. Make the effort to write a blurb about the work, and display the children’s own interpretation or words.
- Have a think about children’s privacy in your service. It might seem at first like they don’t need privacy, but when offered; many children do appear to seek it out. Have lots of areas for children to retreat to, to hide away read or rest. Put screens in the toilets so children can use the toilet without others watching (if they choose). Take children into the bathroom to get them changed. If you need to ask a child if they have wet themselves or other personal matter then take them aside and ask them when other’s can’t hear.
- Role model respectful interactions with other educators. Easier said than done sometimes—but soo effective!
- Adjust routines to allow for more respect. Instead of sitting everyone down and telling them to go to wash their hands one by one, just allow children to wash their hands when they finish what they are doing and go to morning tea with their friends when they are ready. This helps develop children agency too!
- As well as providing recycled and renewable materials, provide some good paper and pens. Create an environment that reflects how important and special the children are. Have glass jars and precious tea cups. Allow the children the opportunity to learn to look after things and treat resources carefully.
- Ask children before making decisions that affect them, in the same way you would an adult. Include children in the process for staff recruitment, or for making rules, solving issues and ordering resources. If the new felt tip pens are dry, meet and decide a solution together, perhaps the children can draw a sign to remind their friends to put them back on after using them.