Assignment 2: HDLH?

Belonging: Cultivating Authentic Relationships & Connections

Relationships

Having and establishing a strong bond with children and their families is very significant in the role of a childhood educator.

Security

Through responding to children in a positive manner and engaging in interaction with them, it creates a sense of security and allows children to feel safe within the childcare environment. Positive relationships that are caring and respectful contribute to the children's learning, development, health, and emotional well-being. Also, positive interactions strengthens the child's learning capacity, assisting with the development of social and cognitive competence and communication skills. A strong connection between a child and their caregiver allows the child to experience a sense of safety and confidence when playing, exploring and learning within their surrounding.

Individuality

It is important for each child's unique characteristics to be recognized within a group because it helps them to develop a sense of belonging and inclusiveness in groups and activities.

"Every child deserves to have someone's eyes light up when they enter the room"(How Does Learning Happen?, 2014). This quote signifies how every child needs at least one individual who is grateful for the child's presence in order to make the child feel wanted and respected.

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Acceptance and Understanding

When children are taught to recognize the different characteristics of other children during social play, they learn to put their differences into consideration and learn to get along, negotiate, collaborate, communicate, and care for one another. Early childhood educators help children to develop positive social skills, such as empathy, when they model and teach children to express their feelings, to recognize other's feelings, and to help others.

Families

Strong, quality relationships between families and childcare settings enable the families to develop trust, confidence, and a sense of belonging when they know that their values and expectations for their children are respected at the child care centre. Establishing and maintaining good relationships with families is an important task for early childhood educators because getting to know each family's unique values and experiences assists to work hand-in-hand with the children's families in terms of the children's learning and development.
Having a good relationship with the children's families helps to strengthen the child's sense of belonging and security when they can create and explore between home and the child care setting. Inviting families to participate in their children's program at their child care setting encourages the children's interest in learning.

Inclusiveness

Child care settings can help teach children to be active participants in society by creating an inclusive environment that enables them to participate and collaborate effectively and form genuine relationships. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that all children, including those with special needs, are entitled to the same opportunities, such as health care, nutrition, education, social inclusion, and protection. Having appropriate and quality support and resources for children with special needs at child care settings allows children to integrate into today's society.

Providing opportunities for children to contribute to the world allows them to develop a sense of belonging and a connection to their community, the environment, and all living things. Being supportive of the connections that children make is important for enhancing the children's experiences and interactions with the world around them. Encouraging the children to experience, interact, and connect with nature contributes to their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.

Summary by Jessica Bayon and Anna Bujas:

To conclude, some barriers based on policies and practices when establishing relationships encouraging participation in a childcare setting are cultural differences and limited communication with parents or guardians of the child. Ensuring that the relationship between the child and the caregiver does not affect or interfere with the relationship between the child and their parents will minimize any barriers when forming strong relationships between the child and the caregiver. Communicating with families is significant and shouldn't be minimized because it allows the caregiver to understand the child on a different, deeper level that the caregiver cannot determine based on observing the child at the child care setting. Constant communication with families regarding their children's learning and development can strengthen relationships and ensure social inclusion, participation, and a sense of belonging for each child and family. Modifying the program to incorporate every children's needs and differences will ensure that they are able to fully and comfortably participate. Also, being educated in the families' beliefs, values, culture, and lifestyle will strengthen the bond between the children and their families and the caregiver in a mindful and appreciative manner. Ensuring that a child's needs and requirements are met by the caregiver allow the child to develop trust and the ability to confide in the caregiver. Having more one-on-one time with each child will allow the caregiver to know each child's interests, as well as determining their learning progress in developmental growth. It is important for child caregivers to always be aware that every child has a different way of approaching a sense of belonging. Overall, what I've come to understand is that children need to build a relationship of trust with their caregiver to feel more comfortable at child care. Having one-on-one time with each child helps in finding ways that is inclusive for each child when participating in the program, understanding the child from their perspective (such as feelings and developmental progress), and knowing what interests them.

Reference:

How Does Learning Happen - Ontario Ministry of Education. (2014). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/childcare/HowLearningHappens.pdf