A Sense of Belonging: How every child needs a place to belong

At Stepping Stone Childcare and Early Development Centres, we believe that belonging shapes not only who children are, but also who they will become. It is at the heart of what we do and what we strive to create for every child in our care.

Children develop a sense of belonging through their relationships with their family, their community, the culture around them and the places they experience. We take the time to get to know your family and create a space where your child can extend and build upon their sense of belonging.

What are the key things that children need?

A sense of belonging is one of the things that we value most in terms of creating a happy environment for children. Yet, there are many important things that children need throughout their childcare experience. These include:

  • Stable and positive relationships
  • Consistent communication
  • A safe environment
  • Interaction with others
  • Care and attention
  • Access to play, music and reading materials

Ways to create a sense of belonging

Children love to feel as though they belong – whether that’s in a physical place, a community or in the home. There are lots of things we do to create a sense of belonging and lots of these can be expanded upon at home too.

  • Names – calling children by their names is so important. To be greeted by their name (even if they don’t know the staff member, adult or other child) will instantly settle a child and put them at ease.
  • Interests – getting to know a child’s interest and figuring out what they enjoy playing with or what type of learner they are really helps to build a sense of belonging. Activities can be structured around specific preferences and children will be keen to engage more effectively.
  • Routine – lots of children love to have a set routine and to know roughly what will be happening when. From coming into a day care centre and hanging their bag in a set place, to having morning tea with their friends – all of this creates a safe and secure feel to a child’s day.
  • Adult interaction – staff and parents can be brilliant role models for children to learn from so it’s really helpful to have lots of interaction in play. Adults can help to model social skills, which children will observe and grow to understand.
  • Sensitivity – knowing children and understanding their characters allows adults to interact with them sensitively and ensure that they always feel safe and secure. Needs and emotions vary hugely between children so it’s useful to be as sensitive as possible with each individual.
  • Encourage a sense of community – whether it’s within the classroom or around the centre as a whole, community is so important. Parents, staff and children are all integral parts of any childcare setting and a sense of community creates an identity that a child can really belong to.

Belong with us

Knowing that your child feels settled and happy is so key to you being able to make the most of our childcare and early development centres. We want you and your family to feel you belong as a welcome part of our thriving community.