Belonging and connectedness in early childhood education
The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO), in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia (ECA), has published a new, free guide to help support early childhood educators, teachers and leaders with fostering children’s sense of belonging and connectedness within services.
‘A strong sense of belonging and connectedness positively influences children’s overall learning and development and contributes to a more positive and supportive educational environment,’ said AERO CEO, Dr Jenny Donovan.
‘From birth, children form a profound sense of belonging and connection, forged through interactions with peers and responsive adults, exposure to well-designed learning spaces, and opportunities to be active agents in their own learning.’
The guide outlines evidence-based best practices for educators, teachers, and leaders to support belonging and connectedness in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. Strategies covered in the guide include:
- creating authentic connections with children and their families
- providing culturally safe and responsive environments
- empowering children’s agency and voice
- planning for play-based learning with intentionality
- engaging in critical reflection and ongoing professional learning.
‘While many educators, teachers and leaders may be familiar with or already using the evidence-based practices in this guide, it can still be used as a tool to support critical reflection,’ said Dr Donovan.
Educators, teachers and leaders can also feel reassured that the practices covered in the guide have all been assessed against AERO’s Standards of evidence. In addition, the practices are aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework V2.0, National Quality Standards and Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.
Encouraging a sense of belonging and connectedness in early childhood education and care complements previous practice guide releases for primary and secondary schools.
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