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How do teachers build strong relationships? A study of teaching practices to support child learning and social–emotional competence

Tara McLaughlin, Karyn Aspden, and Claire McLachlan

Relationships lie at the heart of early childhood education principles, curriculum, and pedagogy. Building strong relationships is taken for granted as a capacity all teachers possess; yet this might be an area of practice in which teachers need support and professional guidance. In this article, we examine and discuss what teachers do to build strong positive relationships with other teachers, children, families, whānau, and the wider community. Teaching practices identified are findings from a collaborative research project with kindergarten teachers and early childhood stakeholders. The resulting list of practices demonstrates the commitment of early childhood teachers to building strong relationships.

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