Welcome to our new families and children!
We, at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre (Howick), have been organising the transition visits of our new children along with their parents/ whanau. Transitions are the moves children and young people make from their home to an early learning centres or from one centre to another centre. Individuals respond to change differently. Some may be excited, some take it in their stride, while others experience anxiety. During early childhood transitions parents/ whanau and even teachers can experience these emotions, as do the transitioning children. Not only for the children but also for their families, transitioning process is a significant milestone in child’s learning. This new experience is a time of change that can create excitement and uncertainty.
Here at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre, we believe in achieving optimal transitions which is when the children feel that they belong in the new place; when the educators feel that they belong as part of this new group of children; and when the families feel that they belong to the settings.
Reggio Emilia Approach
As inspired by Reggio Emilia approach and following our centre’s philosophy, we strongly believe in each child forming their own personality during the early years of development and they are endowed with “a hundred languages” through which they express their ideas. Children at Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre are learning how to use symbolic languages such as painting in everyday life, which is also quite evident by their art works displayed on each room’s display boards.
One of the Maori theoretical principles of Tikanga is whanaungatanga. It is defined as the relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging. The focus of Whanaungatanga is on togetherness and relationships to enhance a sense of belonging.
In Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre, we believe that children are the core of relationships between children, families and teachers. It is crucial that young children are given the opportunity to build these connections and be able to seek help when needed. When these needs are met, children can develop a sense of belonging. Fostering a sense of belonging for children can create an environment where learning can thrive and a greater motivation to succeed.
As a Reggio Emilia inspired centre, we also embrace the concept that learning is based on close interaction between teachers, parents, and children as children are collaborators and work best when included in a community. Both the parents and the teachers play important roles in their learning journey.
Teachers Play a Role
In order to build a sense of belonging, young children need to learn the process of developing their skills to work with others. They must learn to play cooperatively, help others, have a sense of empathy, and be a part of a team. These skills are developed over time through healthy routines and consistent expectations that are set in the classroom. Routines can help young children understand what to do so that they can focus on how to do things with others. Routines such as classroom jobs and keeping a consistent schedule can help young children feel and be a more confident participant of the classroom.
Parents Play a Role
When teachers and parents work together, it helps to create a positive sense of community for the child, which can have a positive impact in areas such as children’s early learning skills and behaviour. Developing a sense of belonging from a young age also allows children to feel confident in exploring new ideas, engaging in learning and being self-expressive.