Building trustful relationships and promoting centre wellbeing

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesBuilding effective teamsBuilding trustful relationships and promoting centre wellbeing

Building trustful relationships and promoting centre wellbeing

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesBuilding effective teamsBuilding trustful relationships and promoting centre wellbeing

Jean Rockel from The University of Auckland and Emma Thomsen from Tots Corner discuss the importance of teachers’ relationships with each other in early childhood settings, particularly in infant and toddler contexts. They describe the nature of trustful relationships, as well as how they are promoted, strengthened and nurtured, and how they can support teacher empowerment as well as teachers’ wellbeing.

This webinar provides key concepts and ideas for teachers to use to improve the quality of teacher relationships in their setting, and in turn, the emotional climate of the setting.

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article.

Topics discussed in this webinar 

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video

1.11Defining trustful relationships
4.05How to identify trustful relationships between teachers
6.20Outcomes for children
10.15How to develop trustful relationships
14.28Features of the context or conditions that support trustful relationships
17.15Working through difficulties
18.58Developing a sense of belonging for adults
21.41Trustful relationships for practicum students and relievers
24.59Supporting each others’ well-being
27.57Building a culture of collaboration
31.37Culturally responsive relationships
38.48Trustful relationships across the centre community
42.51Concluding comments

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar further:

  • What do you know about your co-teachers’ strengths, interests and passions?
  • How do you prepare yourself for entering into quality conversations and discussions with co-teachers?
  • What aspects of your communication with your co-teachers could you address to promote more respectful and trustful relationships?
  • How could you develop a strong collaborative partnership and understanding of a co-teacher through shared learning or a shared interest?
  • How does your cultural background influence your expectations regarding communication, and what does a trustful relationship look like from your own cultural perspective?
  • What have you personally found useful for coming to understand a co-teacher where there are difficulties or cultural dissonance?

Further resources to explore these ideas:

Our resource on promoting leaderful practice

Our guide to what matters in infant and toddler pedagogy

Strategies for understanding your own culture and developing cultural responsiveness, and a set of questions to help you reflect on cultural differences


McLaughlin, T., Aspden, K. & McLachlan, C.  (2015).  How do teachers build strong relationships?  A study of teaching practices to support child learning and social-emotional competence.  Early Childhood Folio, 19(1). 

Rosenberg, M. (2015).   Nonviolent Communication:  A language of life.  California, U.S.:  PuddleDancer Press.

Rowley, S. (2016).  Understanding relationships – the contribution of neuroscience.  He Kupu, 4(4).


Jean Rockel

Jean Rockel is an Honorary Academic at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, The University of Auckland. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of very young children for early learning.

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