An awareness of personal feelings in any given situation provides teachers with the opportunity to reflect on the question: How does the way I am feeling influence my daily behaviour when I am with infants and toddlers? This article explores pedagogy in relation to the socio-emotional aspects of reciprocity in early relationships and the notion of self-regulation, drawing on the research of Professor Stuart Shanker, York University, Toronto (2016). Self-regulation focuses on how a teacher has the chance to deeply reflect on his or her own level of emotional functioning in order to explore strategies which will support children as they develop competencies to face the stressors that daily living and learning brings. The future of society may depend on the courage of teachers to stop and reflect as to how and why early relationships may best meet the needs of very young children in group settings.
“Throughout our lives, but especially during childhood, relationships with others regulate our stress and fears.”