There is a saying that school is a child’s second home and the teachers, a child’s second mother or father. For just as important it is that a child grows within a supportive and nurturing home environment, so must the school create a welcoming and caring environment for each student.
A teacher-student relationship is the closest thing to a parent-child relationship. Because a child’s teacher is considered the second most important person in a child’s life (after their parents, of course), teachers must strive to make their relationship a strong and rewarding one.
During the Orientation Talk our school conducts at the beginning of each school year, we explain to our parents the importance of building a trust cycle between the teacher and the child. Trust is crucial. When trust is developed, so many wonderful things happen to children:
* They learn to move more freely
* They expand locomotion skills and learning skills
* They develop a sense of what they can do
* They learn to cooperate with their peers
* They learn how to participate responsibly in school activities and active learning takes place
* They develop skills that will enable them to apply to tasks learned later in life
* They learn the value of independence and industriousness
* They develop a sense of belongingFor young children, the teacher-child relationship is probably the first relationship with an adult outside the family unit and this can be quite powerful and wonderful at the same time. One of the main pillars in establishing this relationship is through touch. At CCE, our teachers are never lacking in their show of affection towards all the students. This is because we believe in the power of physical touch—a cuddle here, a bear hug there, a high five… just because. This lets children know that they are safe and protected, which helps create strong attachments that ultimately provide a stable foundation for future relationships.
Equally important within the trust cycle is the parent-teacher relationship. When there is a positive relationship between parent and teacher, it shows a child that he can trust his teacher, because you do. Communication is a key factor in developing a healthy and positive relationship between parent and teacher. Parents need to know that their child is safe in the teacher’s care. They want to know what and how their child is learning. On the other hand, the teacher needs important feedback from the parent about how the child behaves at home and the social dynamics that could influence the way a child learns or interacts with others.
Nurturing parents and nurturing teachers:
* Trust their child’s fairness and good judgment.
* Respect their child’s autonomy, thoughts, and feelings.
* Support their child’s interests and goals.
* Enjoy their child’s company.
* Protect their child from hurting him or herself or others.
* Model self-control, sensitivity, and values they believe are important.
With nurturing parents on the home front, and nurturing teachers in the classroom, our children will be well on the road toward becoming responsible, creative problem solvers and self-sufficient individuals.
Sources: Sparkitivity.com (2014); Daniels, S. & Peters, D. B. (2013), Raising Creative Kids, Tucson, AZ: Great Potential Press