Social Relationships, Cooperation and Reflection in Early Childhood
Course code
old course code
Course title in Estonian
Sotsiaalsed suhted, koostöö ja tagasisidestamine koolieelses eas
Course title in English
Social Relationships, Cooperation and Reflection in Early Childhood
ECTS credits
approximate amount of contact lessons
Teaching semester
autumn - spring
Assessment form
lecturer of 2018/2019  Spring semester
lecturer not assigned
lecturer of 2019/2020  Autumn semester
lecturer not assigned
Course aims
To provide an overview of creating and keeping positive relationships in a group of preschool-aged children; to support the formation of the students' skills for shaping a socially safe growth environment and group work in a preschool establishment; to provide knowledge about the possibilities and forms of cooperation between a preschool establishment and family; to create opportunities for shaping the cooperation and family counselling skills necessary for a preschool teacher through practical activities.
Brief description of the course
The following topics will be covered in the lectures:
Home and kindergarten as growth environments. Family and kindergarten as cooperation partners. Principles of partnership: respect and trust. Educational partnership as expert interaction, divided education task, support for the child. Communication between pedagogues and parents, team work.
Different possibilities and forms of cooperation. Family education and counselling. The teacher's role as a counsellor.
Appraisals in kindergarten. Sociability and social relationships in kindergarten. Theoretical bases of the concept of bullying behaviour, its manifestation and research. Methods and means for preventing bullying behaviour. "A kindergarten free of bullying" and "Persona Dolls" methodology.
Creating and maintaining positive behaviour models in a children's group. Solving dilemmas and conflicts between different parties. Relationship at different levels and the assessment of their effectiveness
The functioning of teamwork and communication between the team at a preschool establishment. Including a teacher's assistant in educational activities
Independent work
Compiling a study portfolio with current group work and individual work.
The study portfolio contains: The plan of an appraisal (set structure, additional materials). Icebreaker games.
A presentation about a parent-teacher meeting. Educational games that can be used to support and develop social relationships in kindergarten. An academic report on counselling. Summaries of required reading.
Learning outcomes in the course
The student: is a good listener and uses communication methods that are appropriate to the situation; solves problems and supports children in noticing and solving problems; works out the rules of the group with the learners, applies them consistently in everyday work and presents them to parents; notices the group's stages of development and acts accordingly; recognises conflict, reacts according to the situation and includes learners, parents, colleagues and support specialists in solving it; shapes the learners' communication skills; develops the learners' educational and social skills using group-based and individual educational forms; motivates learning by offering learning tasks and development challenges based on real life that are appropriate to the learners’ abilities, and creating a success experience for all learners; as the group leader, initiates cooperation and cooperates with colleagues in developing the learner; plans and carries out parent-teacher meetings, fosters parents' learning from one another; carries out conversations about supporting the learner's development with parents; plans appraisals, following the requirements of the organisation and national normative documents; counsels parents on matters regarding the learner's development and in creating an environment that supports learning; knows the principles and methods of counselling; informs the learners and parents about the principles and organisation of assessment; gives parents recommendations about supporting the learner's learning activities at home; includes parents, colleagues or support specialists; includes colleagues, support specialists and parents in support of the learner's development; includes learners, parents, colleagues, support specialists and community members in learning, feedback and evaluation, using different methods;
notices and describes the learner's special needs and makes suggestions for turning to a support specialist;
includes learners, parents, colleagues and support specialists in designing and giving feedback on learning goals, content and organisation; knows who to turn to if problems arise; creates a mentally and emotionally safe, cooperative and considerate learning environment that supports wellbeing, development and creativity, takes into account learners' needs and study aims and observes human rights, the Estonian constitution, children's rights and the organisation's house rules; notices, praises and encourages the learner, parents and colleagues, praises small steps forward as well;
demonstrates respect and care in communication; puts people first; accepts people's differences and takes them into account in cooperation, values cooperation; creates a positive communication environment and behaves according to accepted social norms; communicates successfully with people of different levels and in different target groups; creates the relationship networks necessary for cooperation; is guided in their work by a teacher's professional ethics;
knows behavioural norms and good manners; shapes and follows society's values and norms in different environments, shapes the learners' values by being a role model.
Assessment methods
Pass-fail Assessment
Lektor Kerstin Kööp
Study literature
Barnfather, N. & Amod, Z. (2012). Empathy and personal experiences of trainees in an Emotional Literacy and Perasona Doll programme in South Africa. South African Journal of Phychology. 42(4). 598-607.
Christenson, S. L. (2004). The family-school partnership: An opportunity to promote the learning competence of all students. School Psychology Review, 33(1), 83–104.
Douglass, A. (2011). Improving family engagement: The organizational context and its influence on partnering with parents in formal child care settings. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 13 (2).
Dumčienė, A. & Šukienė, D. (2014). From Cooperation of Parents and Educators towards empowering partnership. Education. Physical Training. Sport. 3(94).
Kelley-Laine, K. (1998). Overview of 9 OECD Nations: Parents As Partners in Schooling: The Current State of Affairs. Childhood Education, 74(6). 342-345.
Knopf, H. T. & Swick, K. J. (2007). How Parents Feel About Their Child’s Teacher/School: Implications for Early
Replacement literature
Geldard, K. (2008). Counselling children: a practical introduction. Los Angeles. Sage.
Hernandez, M. M., Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., VanSchyndel, S. K., Spinrad, T. L., Silva, K. M., Berger, R. H., Diaz, A., Terrell, N., Thompson, M. S., Southworth, J. (2016). Emotional Expression in School Context, Social Relationships, and Academic Adjustment in Kindergarten. Emotion.
Lin, Y.-C., Yawkey, T. D. (2014). Parents’ Play Beliefs and the Relationship to Children’s Social Competence. Education. 135(1). 107-114.
Prever, M. (2011). Counselling and supporting children and young people; a people-centred approach. Los Angeles. Sage.