The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

Full & Part-time Day Care

Standard 5. Interactions

Fostering constructive interactions (child/child, child/adult and adult/adult) requires explicit policies, procedures and practice that emphasise the value of process and are based on mutual respect, equal partnership and sensitivity.

Component 5.1 | Component 5.2 | Component 5.3 | Component 5.4 | Component 5.5 | Component 5.6

Component 5.1 - Each child is enabled to interact with her/his peers and with children of different ages in pairs, small groups and, to a lesser degree, in large groups.

Signposts for Reflection - General


How does your planning reflect the child's potential to learn in collaboration with others? See 6.6 See 7.4

Birth - 18 months


In your care routines, can you indicate how you show sensitivity towards the child's signals and cues and how you respond appropriately, adequately and consistently?


How do your interactions with the child enhance her/his potential to interact positively with other children?


Describe how you engage the child's interest (including the child with special needs) in objects, in her/his surroundings and in social interactions with others?

12 - 36 months


Same as 5.1.2 - 5.1.4


Throughout the daily routine, what opportunities does each child have to interact with another child or with a small group of children?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Seating arrangements
  • Layout of space See 2.1
  • Different activity areas See 2.5 / 2.6
  • Meal/snack times
  • Tidy-up times
  • Planning time
  • Outdoors/Indoors


What arrangements are in place to enable children to mix with children of other ages?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Sibling/friends/other children coming to play
  • Older children "helping" younger children
  • Shared outings


How do you manage group work within your setting?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Managing large group work so that each child can contribute
  • Minimising the time the child spends in large/whole group activities
  • Suitable activities for large/whole group activities
  • Enabling the child to develop an aptitude and willingness to talk and co-operate with others

2 1/2 - 6 years


Same as 5.1.6 - 5.1.8

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Component 5.2 - Each child receives appropriate support to enable her/him to interact positively with other children.

Signposts for Reflection - General


What kinds of opportunities do you provide which encourage the child to interact with others in peer groups and across the age range in your setting?


What is your role in supporting the child to interact with other children?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Individual disposition
  • Positive identities
  • Sense of belonging
  • Self-confidence See 1.2 See 14.2


What kind of co-operative interactions between a child and another child (or children) have you observed and noted?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Learning
  • Conversation
  • Friendships
  • Helping each other
  • Negotiation
  • Compromise
  • Sharing
  • Turn-taking
  • Conflict
  • Argument

Birth - 18 months


What arrangements do you have in place for the child to have contact with other children in the company of her/his key worker? See 9.6

12 - 36 months


Same as 5.2.4


What strategies are in place to manage conflicts between children?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Supporting the child who has difficulty in interacting with other children
  • Situations in which interaction involves conflict
  • Helping children resolve conflict themselves without you imposing solutions (e.g., negotiation, compromise, listening, naming emotions, acknowledging feelings, etc.)
  • Providing guidance and discipline which is supportive
  • Reflecting realistic expectations for the child's age and individual development

2 1/2 - 6 years


Same as 5.2.5 - 5.2.6


How do you enable the child who consistently plays alone to interact with other children?


In what ways are children facilitated to work together in small groups?

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Component 5.3 - The adult uses all aspects of the daily routine (both formal and informal) to interact sensitively and respectfully with the child.

Signposts for Reflection - Signposts 12 - 36 months


What kind of interactions do you have with the child during your daily care routines?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Warmth
  • Security
  • Loving atmosphere
  • Fun
  • Joy
  • Cuddling/holding (e.g., comfort, feeding, etc.)


What other opportunities do you create every day to interact verbally and non-verbally with the child?


How do you show the child that you enjoy developing your relationship with her/him through sensitive and responsive interactive play? See 6.6


How do you go about giving the child a strong sense of security in being with you in the setting? See 9.6

12 - 36 months


Same as 5.3.1 - 5.3.4


What opportunities do you avail of in order to interact positively with the child?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Greetings
  • Care routines
  • Meal and snack times
  • One-to-one interactions
  • Small group activities
  • Large group activities
  • Tidy-up time
  • Play time
  • Incidental conversation
  • Planning activities
  • Singing and rhyming
  • Games


How do you use these ongoing opportunities?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Listening
  • Eye contact
  • Talking with the child - not about the child
  • Observing the child's feelings
  • Showing sensitivity and warmth
  • Interacting for a meaningful length of time
  • Being age and developmentally appropriate
  • Fun
  • Observing the child's development and learning
  • Following the child's lead


In what way can non-verbal interactions show warmth and support?


How can you ensure that the child feels secure with you? See 9.6

2 1/2 - 6 years


Same as 5.3.5 - 5.3.9

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Component 5.4 - The adult interactive style is focused on process as opposed to outcomes. It is balanced between talking and listening, offers the child a choice of responses and encourages expanded use of language. It follows the child's lead and interests, and challenges the child appropriately.

Signposts for Reflection - General


How do you make sure that your interaction with the child lasts for a meaningful length of time?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Child's current interactive capacity
  • Child's potential
  • Context of interaction
  • Adult understanding of the child's use of language, pronunciation, etc.


In keeping the interaction going for a meaningful length of time, what does the process offer the child?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Listener/speaker relationship
  • Attention span
  • Communication
  • Opportunities for language development See 14.2


If applicable, how do you change/vary your style of interaction to match the actions of a child with special needs?


How can your responses support a child towards new learning and meaning?

Birth - 18 months


How do you reflect the elements of this Component in your interactions and relationship with the child?


When you are having 'conversations' with the child, how is the listener/speaker relationship developed?


How do your responses to the child reflect the inflections and patterns of adult conversation?

12 - 36 months


Same as 5.4.5 - 5.4.7


How do you draw on the child's previous learning to support 'meaning making?'

Think about (e.g.)

  • Child's interests
  • Child's experiences
  • Child's previous learning (e.g., rhymes, stories, people, family, etc.)


In interacting with an individual child or a group of children, what are the challenges for you in making sure the child does most of the talking?


What impact does group size (small/large) have on the amount of talking you do?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Volume
  • Tone
  • Ratio of adult: child talk


What observations do you make when you are listening to children's interactions?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Child's language use
  • Sentence structure
  • Non-verbal communication


Can you give an example of an interaction with a child in which you followed the child's lead?


Can you give an example of an interaction which you initiated?


When you review an interaction you had with a child/group of children, what changes, if any, would you make to your interactive style?

2 1/2 - 6 years


Same as 5.4.8 - 5.4.15


In your interactions with the child, what process characteristics do you emphasise?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Open-ended comments and questions
  • Positive attention
  • Waiting for the child to form thoughts
  • Encouraging expanded responses
  • Encouraging descriptive language
  • Exploring the child's interests


What do you try to achieve through your responses to the child?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Expanded response from child
  • Co-operation
  • Guidance
  • Collaboration
  • Affirmation
  • Negotiation
  • Understanding
  • Positive identities
  • Sense of belonging
  • Cultural awareness
  • Challenge
  • Clarification
  • Answering
  • Commentary


In the context of the previous two Signposts, what are the challenges in interacting in this way with a child or group of children?


If challenges have been identified, what strategies can be developed to meet these challenges?

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Component 5.5 - Interactions between the adults within, and associated with the setting, act as a model of respect, support and partnership for the child.

Signposts for Reflection


How do your interactions with parents model friendly respect and partnership? See 3.3 See 11.5


If you work as part of a team, what positive attributes are evident in the way in which team members work together? See 10.5

Think about (e.g.)

  • Responsibility to the team
  • Commitment
  • Acknowledging individual contribution(s)
  • Sharing ideas
  • Supporting initiative/improvement
  • Collaboration and co-operation
  • Consultation
  • Professional respect
  • Confidentiality
  • Listening
  • Support
  • Trustworthiness
  • Acknowledging strengths/weaknesses
  • Cultural awareness


How does the nature of the interactions between the adults within the setting impact on the child's learning and development?


Are there opportunities for the child to observe adults modelling positive interactions?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Co-operation
  • Helping
  • Turn-taking
  • Showing kindness
  • Problem-solving

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Component 5.6 - There is a clear written policy and associated procedures which underpin interactive practice taking place within the setting.

Signposts for Reflection


What does your policy say about interactions between children and adults?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Promoting desirable behaviour
  • Unacceptable behaviour
  • Negative stereotyping See 14.2/14.3
  • Bullying
  • Conflict resolution
  • Parental responsibility and involvement
  • Consistency
  • Inclusion
  • Cultural awareness


How are children involved in devising and implementing the policy on positive behaviour? See 4.1

Think about (e.g.)

  • Children's opinion on positive interactions
  • Children setting standards
  • Children's forum on behaviour/interactions/rules
  • Children's understanding of the benefits of positive behaviour
  • Reinforcing positive interactions
  • Noticing positive behaviours


What procedures have you put in place to deal with unacceptable behaviour from the child?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Discussion
  • Promoting empathy
  • Understanding consequences
  • Conflict resolution
  • Understanding emotions
  • Long term support
  • Documenting incidents
  • Support from colleagues
  • Informing parents
  • Parental involvement
  • Quiet time/time-out


What procedures have you put in place to deal with bullying? See 14.3

Think about (e.g.)

  • Anti-bias programme content
  • Specific anti-bullying programme
  • Involving parents
  • Support for victim(s)
  • Support for perpetrator(s)


How does your policy characterise interactions between adults working in the setting and children?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Respect
  • Partnership
  • Co-operation
  • Collaboration


What procedures do you have in place to ensure that adults are able to conduct interactions with children in keeping with your policy?

Think about (e.g.)

  • Key worker system
  • Staff deployment within the setting
  • Time management
  • Training


How does practice in your setting mirror your policy and implement your procedures?

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