What is Respect?

• To feel or show differential regard for
• To avoid violation of or interference with
• The state of being regarded with honor or esteem
• Willingness to show consideration or appreciation


Carla Rinaldi, Italian pedagogista and president of Reggio Children, challenged Early Education professionals to think of teachers as resources and guides for children, rather than dictators or authoritarians.* She goes so far as to say that Respect is an Educational Virtue.

Use the following questions to refine your own interpretation and expectations for respectful interaction as you view your child’s relationship with their teacher:

  • Is it respectful for a teacher to pick up an infant without preparing them to move?

  • Is it respectful to offer a toddler an array of decisions for snacks, meals, or activities?

  • Is it respectful of an infant teacher to follow a daily routine?

  • Is it respectful of a teacher to teach toddlers how to interact with one another?**

There are many ways to show respect for an infant or toddler:

  1. Allow children time to finish tasks they are interested in.
  2. Provide very young children with two appropriate choices (broccoli or green beans? Brush your teeth now or in 10 minutes?) and let them decide!
  3. Get down on their level (physically).
  4. Don’t talk OVER them or above their level of understanding.

We think that however you treat big people is probably how you treat little people. How do you rank as a respecter of others? The best way to teach a child is to model appropriate behavior!

“He who loves others is constantly loved by them.

He who respects others is constantly respected by them.”