A Sense of Belonging
By Sue Payne Pre-School Supervisor
Nursery is often the first step for children beyond the security of home and family and into the wider world. Creating a safe, nurturing environment is vital to ensure happy, fulfilled children. These days the relationship between well being and learning is being ever more recognised (and in turn provided for) by educational settings across all ages. An anxious, insecure child is not at liberty to learn and thrive and nurseries and schools have an ever increasing role to play in children's welfare. The Leuven Scale shows how well being impacts on the characteristics of effective learning such as concentration and engagement. So how can we ensure our children feel confident and valued at Nursery? A strong Key Person relationship plays a huge part in every childs settling in and on going development and is vital to inclusion. Every family needs that special person who guides, comforts and rejoices in their child's 'Unique' development and links care and learning between setting and home. Someone who takes the time to get to know each child's interests and strengths, their frustrations and fears.
Displaying children's photos and work shows that they are valued as does a responsive, listening team with staff who understand that knowledge is constructed in social contexts and who see themselves as co learners, discovering the world alongside children.
Promoting the British Values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Individual Liberty and Mutual Respect provides a culture of equality. Kindness and empathy can nurture and protect. We all want to feel that we belong and are accepted for who we are. Boosting children's self esteem can be compared to blowing up a rubber ball, so if difficulties arise they are resilient and keep bouncing through life. Children's sense of belonging can be observed through their expressions of interest and involvement, their ability to join in, to contribute to nursery life and develop friendships.