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The Early Educator’s Role in the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

by Linda Crisalli
January/February 2010
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-early-educators-role-in-the-prevention-of-child-sexual-abuse-and-exploitation/5019158/

Defining relationships with children and families

Early childhood educators are in the business of nurturing young children and facilitating their healthy growth and development. There is a mountain of research on how young children develop and learn and how best to support that process. This of course includes caring, responsive interactions with the ­children and families in our care. However, there is less guidance available about the importance of ­appropriate professional boundaries in our relationships with children and their parents.

At first glance it might seem like the most natural thing in the world for early educators to think of themselves as an honorary member of their children’s families, and to behave accordingly. After all, what we do for a living epitomizes ‘warm fuzzies.’ The job includes cuddling with, giggling with, playing with, and nurturing young children during most of their waking hours. The job also includes interacting with their parents, twice a day, five days a week. In the course of those inter­actions, a considerable amount of personal and confidential information is disclosed.

It is human nature to be more attracted to some people than to others, both children and adults, and it is not uncommon for caretakers to disregard professional ...

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