Belonging:

Cultivating Authentic Relationships and Connections

Goal for children:

Children have a sense of belonging when he or she is connected to others.

Important Information

- Having good relationships with children is the single most important aspect to being an Early Childhood educator.

- Positive, caring and respectful relationships are the foundation for optimal learning.

- Children who have strong connections with their caregivers feel safe and develop confidence.

- A sense of belonging is supported when each child's individuality is valued.

- Programs that value centrality of the family develop trust and confidence in the caregivers.

- A child's sense of security is strengthened when the opportunity to make connections arises.

- Children benefit from being in environments where they can form authentic relationships.

- Having connections with the natural world contributes to the child's mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Children demonstrate a sense of belonging when they:

- Participate in social interactions with adults and other children.

- Have smooth transitions between home and the early years setting.

Educators can create context in which all children can develop a sense of belonging by:

- Being attuned to the physical and mental states of each child.

- Responding in a warm and sensitive manner.

- Connecting and valuing the child.

Recognize, explore and make connections:

- Between home and the early childhood setting.

- With the child's community.

- With the natural environment.

Additional considerations for educators:

- Build connections between home and the program by communicating with families using a variety of means, ie. email updates, newsletters.

- Assist children in finding new ways to achieve their goals.

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Ministry of Education. How Does Learning Happen? Ontario's Pedagogy of the Early Years

(2014). http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/HowLearningHappens.pdf