Four key principles for best starts and positive outcomes

The rights of the child, relationships, responsive care and respect are the four key principles which form the basis of this guidance.

All staff working with babies and young children should be aware that these key principles are interrelated and interdependent.

Rights of the child

Children's rights are defined in many ways, including a wide spectrum of civil, cultural, economic, social and political rights.

Responsive care

Responsive care means knowing and accepting children and respecting that they are unique individuals.


Babies are genetically predisposed to form relationships; this is their strongest evolutionary survival mechanism.


Children's views, values and attitudes are shaped largely by family and more indirectly by communities.