“As our classroom totem is a Jungaa (An octopus in Dharug language) we have created a “portal”, which is more than a mural, that contains all the children in the classroom,” Early Childhood Teacher Elena Palmitessa said.
“The children use these colourful projects as a visible symbol of their belonging in the classroom, and also to name and help recognise their classmates.”
As the Early Learning Framework states: Children belong first to a family, a cultural group, a neighbourhood and a wider community. Belonging acknowledges children’s interdependence with others and the basis of relationships in defining identities. In early childhood, and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging.
“As we explore the sense of belonging with the children, we highlighted belonging in our family, as family is the most important part of life for the children,” Elena said.
“The classroom started collecting family photos and adding them to our family wall. In this way, we recognise the importance of all our families and bring them into the classroom with us.
“We want to empower our children’s diversity and have them ready to welcome and embrace everyone, starting now with our small classroom and tomorrow with the whole society.”