The National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education

Infant Classes

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


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


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.)

  • Whole School Planning
  • Contact opportunities with siblings/friends/other children
  • Older children "helping" younger children
  • Shared outings


How do you manage group work within your classroom?

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

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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


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


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


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


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

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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


What measures can you take to increase the likelihood of interactions between yourself and the child lasting a meaningful length of time?


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

Think about (e.g.)

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


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?


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
  • Negotiation
  • Understanding
  • Affirmation
  • 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 (e.g., other infant teachers, classroom assistants, special needs assistants, etc.), 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 teachers/adults within the school 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.

See 14.1

Signposts for Reflection


What does school 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
  • School's responsibility
  • Consistency
  • Inclusion
  • Cultural awareness


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

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.)

  • Code of Discipline
  • Discussion
  • Promoting empathy
  • Understanding consequences
  • 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.)

  • Priority for small numbers in infant classes
  • Time management
  • School/classroom planning


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

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