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Helping Children and Families Develop a Sense of Belonging

by Donna King
November/December 2012
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/helping-children-and-families-develop-a-sense-of-belonging/5020857/

Every early childhood program has its own aspirations for the children and families it serves:

• Maybe you care most that children make friends and resolve conflicts peacefully.
• Maybe your passion is helping children and their families connect with the natural world.
• Perhaps you hope children will claim and master many expressive languages to make their ideas and imaginings visible to themselves and others.
• You may be committed to helping every child gain ­competence and confidence in early academics: writing, reading, and counting.

Whatever it is you hope to achieve, your success will depend on how fully you are able to help each child and family develop a sense of belonging in your program. To learn is to risk and to venture " and most of us won’t risk and venture unless we feel fundamentally secure where we are. We must feel that we are on the ‘inside’ of someplace safe in order to step outside of ourselves and grow.

So how, as the people already inside, do we open our programs fully to the people we serve? How do we create a culture in our programs that ensures each member of the community ...

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