A Welcome Stone: A Sense of Belonging

Arrival stones for attendance at a child care, fosters a sense Belonging. 

Belonging happens when a child has a sense of connectedness. Forming strong, trusting relationships are important to feel safe, explore and learn.  Children need to feel part of a community within their family, friends and the natural world.

Introducing Rocks to Children: Classroom Belonging Activity

“Everybody Has a Rock.”  Each child blindly selects a pebble from the basket.

Share with the children that their rock is waiting for them and that it will choose them.

Each child is responsible for putting his or her rock in the basket each morning and afternoon. Take attendance from the rocks remaining on the table.

“It is symbolic of their presence and gives them a little more responsibility.”

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This is a wonderful nostalgic book for adults who collected rocks when they were children; I’ve observed my daughter collect rocks. And, some children who enjoy the natural world might appreciate it because it stresses their autonomy in the pursuit of choosing a rock of their very own. I also like how the girl stresses play with her rock can be more fun than playing with the kinds of things that have to be purchased.

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Love this rock name idea from Stimulating Learning with Rachel.

Making the surroundings welcoming for all children and families

Welcome stones …

  • Children take the lead; actively shaping their day right in the morning.
  • Invite and engage others in the continuing process of program development including parents, the children themselves.
  • Educators listen and learn from the children as much as the children listen and learn from the educators.
  • Educators encourage children to explore nature and their natural environments.

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Routines and activities to help children develop a sense of belonging in a child care program.

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Looking at the environment and our practices with a critical lens can help us to strengthen our programs and thus foster positive development in the children we care for.

Questions to consider:

  • How do I foster relationships within my program to create a sense of belonging with both the families and the children?
  • How does the environment I provide support belonging?
  • Are there policies or practices I might reconsider?

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“Growing” belonging

A sense of belonging doesn’t just happen; it takes time and effort to grow. Focused, planned ideas are important. Growing with your families creates not only a positive sense of belonging, but also helps foster the circle of nurturing: “You’ve taken such good care of me; I want to take good care of you.” This adds to what is special and unique about your program.

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