We all love that feeling of being accepted and included- this is called a sense of belonging and it’s critical for our wellbeing all throughout life. But how do we develop this sense of belonging?
A simple way to think about our sense of belonging was created by the Russian born American Psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner who came up with the theory that many ‘spheres of influence’ contribute to our sense of belonging. These spheres are things like our family, neighbourhood, child care, school, sporting groups, church, city, country etc. Using Bronfenbrenner’s theory helps Pre Kindy Educators understand the influence they can have on a child’s wellbeing.
A quality Pre Kindy service recognises that they are a sphere of influence and they understand the importance of their role in developing your child’s sense of belonging. But as a parent how do you asses this? The answer is relationships.
How do the Educators at your Pre Kindy interact with children and parents? There is more to relationships with children than merely knowing their name and interests. Are the children’s ideas being incorporated into the program? Do Educators ensure every child has the opportunity to have a voice in the room and express their uniqueness? Sense of belonging is about helping those children who feel uncomfortable to feel safe and included.
Most importantly a quality Pre Kindy will ensure that Educators are consistent and stable, allowing children to build relationships with them. Traditional long day care centres struggle with staff turnover as casual workers come and go from their various rooms daily. At Playful Learners we ensure that only selected Educators who have the skills best suited for early childhood work in our Pre Kindy so that the children can develop meaningful relationships with them. We can do this because we believe smaller is better.