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PLAN Sheet: The Importance of Relationships to Early Language and Literacy Development

Jun 28, 2016

Explore how strong teacher-child relationships support overall development and motivate children’s learning.

Credit: KPG Payless /

Key Messages:
Brain research indicates that children clearly benefit from opportunities to develop close relationships with their caregivers.
Strong teacher-child relationships support overall development and motivate children’s learning.
Children are more likely to attain early language and literacy with teachers who are able to build close, responsive relationships.


reparing Yourself

  • Think back over your career, how did you form relationships with children and families?
  • What messages about the importance of building trusting relationships with young children could you share as a mentor?


inking with the Caregiver

  • Invite teachers to share the following with you:
    • What they would like children to remember about their relationship with them?
  • Listen for ways for teachers do the following:
    • Develop relationships with each child and family.
    • Demonstrate their ability to make children feel safe and secure.


cknowledge Strengths & Areas for Support

  • Reflect back what you heard (content and feeling) and reach for clarity. Ask teachers what they would like to learn more about in building relationships with children and families.
  • Highlight strengths. Observe aloud how you have seen teachers build trusting relationships with children and families.
  • Reframe the teachers’ comments and concerns in ways that extend their understanding of the importance of early relationships.


ext Steps

  • Brainstorm together ways teachers can build, enhance, maintain, and renew relationships with children and families.
  • Identify resources that each of the following contributors might bring to the effort:
    • Teachers
    • You, as the mentor
    • Colleagues or community

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