Learning in Supportive Relationships

Supportive relationships are the foundation for a “school ready” child. Warm and responsive caregivers help children learn to trust others. When children trust others, they gain confidence to explore their world. In turn, this increases their opportunities to learn. Positive interactions with a responsive adult strengthen connections in a child’s brain.

Relationships become stronger during everyday interactions, particularly when a child directs his own play. Play helps children make sense of the world. Through play, children learn persistence and cooperation, practice problem solving and develop creativity.

Quality interactions are not about toys, but how you use them. There are many products on the market that claim to boost learning or brain development. But scientific research shows that the people in a child’s life are the most important “toys” in the room.

  • Back-and-forth or contingent interactions
    exchanges in which a caregiver times her responses to a child’s behavior
    observing then reproducing, or copying, a behavior
    Infant-directed speech
    a special tone and style of speech used to talk to young children. It’s also called parentese.
    the support a caregiver provides a child to help her achieve more than she would be able to accomplish on her own