What Role Do Relationships Play in Developing Positive Learning Environments?

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What role do relationships play in developing positive learning environments? Relationships play a very influential role in the development of a positive learning environment, as the relationship between the child’s immediate environment and settings all need to co-exist and work collaborative together, to form a positive learning environment. Relationships need to be formed, as it provides for the child with consistent support and can assist the child to develop skills and understandings they need to interact positively in their environment. (EYLF, 2009) Working together the child’s environment and settings explore the learning potential for the child and provide daily opportunities to learn from a supportive, flexible and fun environment in the early childhood setting, home or out in their community. (EYLF, 2009) According to Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory, social relationships and interactions influence a child’s development. Children are in constant contact with parents, teachers, peers and relatives, Vygotsky believed that these relationships are the foundations of a child’s learning. A parent and teacher’s relationship with the child is important as they read to them, explain points and hold conversations. Peers are also important as they encourage a child’s conversations and discussions. However it is the socio-cultural theory diagram that best represents the relationship between the child, the teacher, the parent, the curriculum and the environment.(SCU, 2011) Everything is connected and is working collaboratively together. The child has access to all these influences, not only does the child have a relationship with the teacher but the teacher also has a relationship with the curriculum, and vice versa. This is very important as the teacher needs to have these relationships to become better understanding and more knowledgeable. Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development and Kohlberg’s stages of moral development also explain that a child gradually develops a sense of self and identity as they gain perspectives about personal social behaviours that occur as a result of relationships. (Marsh, 2010) Without these relationships, these theorists believed that a child’s learning environment wouldn’t be as enriched, and enhance their knowledge and development. From birth children are connected to family, community, culture and place. (EYLF, 2009) The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia emphasises on a child’s needs, and for them to be provided through the three B’s, Belonging, Being and Becoming. All three B’s are stemmed from relationships. For a child to experience belonging, they must first belong to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood or a wider community. (EYLF, 2009) In early childhood and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging. (EYLF, 2009) Being also recognises the significance of the present and knowing themselves, building relationships with others and also a relationship with themselves. Becoming states that children’s identities, knowledge, understandings, skills and relationships change during childhood. (EYLF, 2009) The importance of relationships is clearly shown throughout the EYLF and that through every learning outcome, a relationship must be present and that the relationship they form, whether it be the Teacher or the Parents, that they have a significant effect on the child’s success in learning. The EYLF also discusses that children thrive when families and teachers work together in partnership to support a young child’s positive learning environment. There are five outcomes that it believes, captures the learning development of all children. (EYLF, 2009) Outcome 1, children have a strong sense of identity, this recognises that relationships are the foundations for the construction of identity – ‘’who am i’’, ‘’how I belong’’ and ‘’what is my influence’’. (EYLF, 2009) Outcome 2, Children are connected and contribute to their world. Showing that having...
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