According to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority™, “Belonging acknowledges children’s interdependence with others and the basis of relationships in defining identities.
In early childhood, and throughout life, relationships are crucial to developing a sense of belonging. Belonging is central to being and becoming in the sense that it shapes who children are and who they can become.”
At MMCNQ we believe that positive communication and interactions with children are crucial to supporting children’s sense of belonging. Many recognised authorities confirm the importance of positive adult interactions with children early in life, which in turn supports children to develop meaningful relationships with others.
Our Educator’s interactions are warm, caring and responsive. Attention is focussed around building connections with each individual child and when maintained over a period of time, children develop trust and a sense of belonging.
When children develop secure relationships with our educators, they become more confident and independent, and able to explore their environment while learning about the world and their place in it. Returning to those they trust when they require comfort, protects and helps calm children when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Every child is unique and while some will venture to explore, others may require having the educator close by to reconnect more frequently.
What is important is that educators respond to each child’s needs and be available to provide children with a sense of security. “Research shows relationships are central to children developing acceptance, self-esteem and higher functioning thinking skills that contribute to positive learning and life outcomes”.
All educators play a role in supporting children to develop their skills to work with others. This is embedded through playing cooperatively, helping others, developing empathy and being part of a team.
Healthy routines and consistent expectations support the children on this relationship journey. Routines help children understand what to do so they can focus on how to do things. Routines also help children to develop confidence as they become more confident in their environment.
As parents and educators engage in positive communication, building trusting and respectful relationships together, the MMCNQ community strengthens and the sense of belonging for children continues to develop.