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The Importance of Building Relationships in Preschool Education

Preschool is a critical time in a child’s development, as it sets the foundation for their academic and social-emotional success in the future. One essential component of preschool education is building relationships between teachers and preschoolers. When teachers and preschoolers have positive relationships, it can lead to improved learning outcomes, better behaviour, and higher self-esteem. This article will explore the importance of building relationships in preschool education and provide strategies for educators to build strong relationships with their preschoolers.

Creating Positive Relationships with Preschoolers

Building positive relationships with preschoolers is essential in creating an effective learning environment. When preschoolers feel connected to their teacher, they are more likely to engage in learning and be open to trying new things. Positive relationships also help preschoolers feel safe, secure and supported, which can lead to better behaviour and higher self-esteem.

To build positive relationships with preschoolers, teachers should get to know each child individually. This includes learning their interests, strengths, and areas for improvement. By understanding each child’s unique needs, teachers can tailor their teaching to meet their needs and interests.

Teachers can also build relationships by being present and actively engaging with preschoolers during activities. By participating in activities alongside their preschoolers, teachers can model positive behaviour and demonstrate their interest in their preschoolers’ learning.

Communication is another critical aspect of building positive relationships with preschoolers. Teachers should communicate regularly with preschoolers and their families to keep them informed about their child’s progress and any issues that may arise. This helps build trust and fosters a partnership between teachers and families in supporting the preschooler’s learning and development.

Strategies for Building Relationships with Preschoolers

Get to know each preschooler individually.

Getting to know each preschooler as an individual is essential in building positive relationships. Teachers should take the time to learn each child’s interests, strengths, and areas for improvement. This can be done through informal conversations, observations, and assessments.

  • Create a warm and welcoming environment: Creating a warm and welcoming environment can help preschoolers feel safe and secure. This can include decorating the classroom with preschoolers’ artwork, providing comfortable seating and creating a sense of community by displaying class rules and expectations.
  • Participate in activities with preschoolers: Participating in activities with preschoolers can help build relationships by demonstrating interest in their learning and modelling positive behaviour. This can include participating in group activities, playing games and reading stories.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement can help build positive relationships by encouraging preschooler’s positive behaviour. This can include providing praise for a job well done, offering small rewards for accomplishments and celebrating achievements.
  • Communicate regularly with preschoolers and their families: Regular communication with preschoolers and their families can help build trust and foster a partnership in supporting preschoolers’ learning and development. This can include providing updates on preschoolers’ progress, sharing concerns, and seeking input from families on how to best support their child’s learning.

  • Benefits of Building Positive Relationships with Preschoolers

  • Improved learning outcomes: When preschoolers have positive relationships with their teacher, they are more likely to engage in learning and be open to trying new things. This can lead to improved learning outcomes and a greater sense of achievement.
  • Better behaviour: Positive relationships can help foster a sense of safety, security and support for preschoolers, which can lead to better behaviour in the classroom.
  • Higher self-esteem: Positive relationships can help build preschoolers’ self-esteem by providing a sense of acceptance and validation.
  • A sense of belonging: When preschoolers have positive relationships with their teacher, they feel a sense of belonging in the classroom community. This can lead to greater engagement in learning and a sense of pride in their accomplishments.

  • Another key aspect of building relationships with preschoolers is showing empathy and understanding towards them. It is important to recognise that preschoolers are at a stage in their life where they are still developing their emotional regulation and may not always have the words to express their emotions. As adults, we need to be patient and compassionate towards them, acknowledging their feelings and helping them to work through them.

    One way to do this is by validating their feelings. If a preschooler comes to you upset because their friend took their toy, instead of dismissing their feelings or telling them to “just get over it,” acknowledge how they are feeling. You could say something like, “I can see that you’re feeling upset that your friend took your toy. That would make me feel upset too.” This shows the preschooler that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them.

    It is also important to set clear and consistent boundaries with preschoolers to help them feel safe and secure. Preschoolers thrive on routine and structure, and having clear expectations helps them to understand what is expected of them. However, it is equally important to be flexible and understanding when the situation calls for it. If a preschooler is having a difficult day and needs some extra support, it is important to be willing to adapt and make changes to the routine to help them feel more comfortable.

    In addition to building relationships with individual preschoolers, it is also important to build relationships with their families. Preschoolers’ families are their primary caregivers, and they play a crucial role in their development. By working collaboratively with families, preschool educators can gain a deeper understanding of each child’s unique needs and strengths, and create a more holistic approach to supporting their development.

    Build Relationships

    To build strong relationships with families, preschool educators can:

  • Communicate regularly: Regular communication with families helps to build trust and understanding. This could include sending home newsletters or updates, organising parent-teacher conferences, or simply having informal chats at drop-off or pick-up times.
  • Listen to families: Families know their preschoolers best, and it is important to listen to their insights and concerns. Preschool educators can gain valuable insights into a child’s behaviour, interests, and strengths by listening to their families.
  • Involve families in decision-making: By involving families in decision-making, preschool educators can create a more collaborative and inclusive approach to education. This could include involving families in curriculum planning, asking for their input on classroom activities, or seeking their feedback on the preschool’s policies and procedures.
  • Create a welcoming environment: Families should feel welcomed and included in the preschool environment. This could include displaying photos of families and preschoolers around the classroom, inviting families to contribute to classroom activities, or holding family events and celebrations.

  • Building relationships with preschoolers is crucial to their development and wellbeing. By providing a nurturing and supportive environment, preschool educators can help preschoolers to develop strong social and emotional skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. By showing empathy, setting clear boundaries, and working collaboratively with families, preschool educators can create a more holistic and inclusive approach to education.

    Developing your relationships further

    Developing relationships is a vital part of a preschooler’s learning experience. Through the relationships they form with their peers and educators, they learn how to interact with others and develop social-emotional skills that will be useful throughout their lives.

    One effective way to build relationships in the preschool classroom is through play-based learning. By engaging in play-based activities, preschoolers learn how to share, take turns, and work together towards a common goal. This type of collaborative learning also helps preschoolers develop a sense of belonging and community within the classroom.

    Another effective way to build relationships is through daily routines and rituals. Sharing a story at circle time, singing songs together, or engaging in a mindfulness exercise are all examples of daily rituals that can help preschoolers feel connected to their peers and educators. These routines also provide opportunities for preschoolers to learn how to listen and communicate effectively with others.

    Finally, it is important for educators to build relationships with parents and caregivers as well. Regular communication between educators and parents can help create a sense of partnership in a child’s learning and development. It also helps to create a consistent approach between home and school, which can lead to greater success in a child’s learning and development.


    Overall, building relationships with preschoolers is essential for promoting positive social-emotional development and creating a strong foundation for lifelong learning. By using a variety of strategies, educators can foster a sense of community and support within the classroom, while also promoting individual growth and development. When preschoolers feel valued, supported, and connected to their educators and peers, they are more likely to engage in meaningful learning experiences and develop the skills and competencies needed to succeed in school and beyond.

    In conclusion, building relationships with preschoolers is a critical component of high-quality early childhood education. It requires a multifaceted approach that includes creating a warm and welcoming environment, promoting positive social-emotional development, and developing meaningful connections with families. Educators who prioritise relationship-building with preschoolers can create a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

    While building relationships with preschoolers can be challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. By taking the time to understand each child’s unique needs and interests, educators can create a supportive learning environment that fosters growth and development. By prioritising relationship-building in early childhood education, we can help young preschoolers develop the social-emotional skills and competencies they need to succeed in school and in life.