Experiences of relationships and participation in communities contribute to children’s and becoming belonging, being . From birth children experience living and learning with others in a range of communities. These might include families, local communities or early childhood settings. Having a positive sense of identity and experiencing respectful, responsive relationships strengthens children’s interest and skills in being and becoming active contributors to their world. As children move into early childhood settings they broaden their experiences as participants in different relationships and communities.
Over time the variety and complexity of ways in which children connect and participate with others increases. Babies participate through smiling, crying, imitating, and making sounds to show their level of interest in relating to or participating with others. Toddlers participate and connect with other toddlers through such gestures as offering their teddy to a distressed child or welcoming a new child enthusiastically. Older children show interest in how others regard them and understandings about friendships. They develop understandings that their actions or responses affect how others feel or experience belonging .
When educators create environments in which children experience mutually enjoyable, caring and respectful relationships with people and the environment, children respond accordingly. When children participate collaboratively in everyday routines, events and experiences and have opportunities to contribute to decisions, they learn to live interdependently. Children’s connectedness and different ways of them to learn ways of being which belonging with people, country and communities helps reflect the values, traditions and practices of their families and communities. Over time this learning transforms the ways they interact with others.
- Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
- Children respond to diversity with respect
- Children become aware of fairness
- Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment