Following the recent opening of Little Learning School’s first four centres in Victoria, the Educators are building relationships with the children and families allowing them to settle into Little Learning School as smoothly as possible. As part of these relationships, Educators at all four centres will also begin to build connections with the local communities. ACECQA states that “For children, a sense of community plays an important role in the development of their feelings of belonging and security. Children thrive in an environment of mutually supportive and caring relationships. For this reason, developing a sense of community within a service is crucial. It is also valuable for children to feel part of a wider community that extends beyond the learning environment” (Touhill, L – NQS PLP e-Newsletter, Early Childhood Australia, No.47, 2012).
Put quite simply, the Centre Directors and Educators will use their knowledge of the families of the centre, the local services and community and encourage the community to come in to the services and for the children to go out into the community. Through this, children and the centre on the whole will become aware of the community that they are part of (on a local and broader level) and become active citizens in that community.
This building of community will start small and branch into a broader goal. Some ways that this may be done in centres is by:
- Getting to know the families of the centre. Does a parent work for a service that could visit the centre and speak to the centre? Do they have a musical talent/artistic/creative talent that can be shared with the children? Do they love to garden? Does a parent have a profession that they can talk to the children about? These are just a few examples of the possible connections
- Community connections such as intergenerational projects with local aged care facilities, local landcare or conservation groups, excursions to the local library, post office (children are fascinated with this) or even simple visits to the nearby café to collect their coffee ground “waste” to use for the children’s gardens. Building relationships with local schools, maternal health nurse services etc in turn allowing parents of the centres to gain more knowledge of services available.
We look forward to sharing some of our community ventures with you in the near future as the new centres continue to grow and develop. If you would like to become involved in this process with your child’s centre, please contact the Centre Director – we would love to involve you in the process.