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Interactions and relationships

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Last updated by Justine Mason

Written by Justine Mason, CORE Education, February 2011

The importance of reciprocal and responsive relationships in early childhood care and education is well established. Genuine responsive teacher/educator interactions are recognised as a key indicator of what constitutes quality for children and their families.


In this section we offer those teachers/educators involved in the care and education of our youngest early childhood participants the opportunity to access resources, explore ideas, and network with colleagues to support ongoing review and development of relationships and interactions in early childhood environments.

Responsive teacher/child interactions involve:

  • respect
  • listening
  • engagement
  • understanding
  • participation.

When teachers/educators interact sensitively and responsively with infants and toddlers, they position themselves in the space where young children’s development and learning is favorably fostered. Quality interactions enhance children's sense of identity, their view of relationships with others, and their world and place in it.


  • What do babies need from caregivers?

    In this video clip from VOICES: Insights from the field - caring for infants and young toddlers, practitioners and academics share their insights about what babies need from caregivers. Although this video is based on the American context there are some important messages to consider for practice in the New Zealand context.