How Can Young Children Feel Part of Their Community? - November Blog
People have created communities since time began; working together for better outcomes and wanting to feel that they are part of something and have somewhere they feel they belong. Emilie Moon, Head of Infants and Community Lead, shares why she thinks it's important to start early.
Children are usually well established in their family community and within their school community and this is hopefully somewhere where they feel comfortable, safe and secure. However, it is important that children come to realise that ‘community’ does not just stop there. The local community around them as well as their national and international community is so very important. It gives children a sense of belonging to a place and offers opportunities to develop a whole host of life skills.
So how do we help children to explore their wider communities? Joining clubs and societies such as Brownies/Scouts and sports teams are a very good start. Children meet others who are not necessarily from the same background as themselves, learn to work together, care for each other and allow everyone to have a voice. These activities do not always have to cost money. There are often free sessions at local libraries or groups run by the local community centres. Look out for special events such as community litter picks or fun runs. Taking visits in the local area, to parks or museums, for example, teaches children to respect and care for their surroundings. With these experiences, children quickly learn that the community can provide a great deal of learning and enjoyment for very little or no money. Connecting children with their local community can also help children to positively affect change in their own personal lives, including their physical and mental health.
Teaching children that there are often others in the wider community who are more needy than themselves is another important lesson. Children involved in fundraising learn a lot about their community and themselves as a result of their experience. Look out for opportunities for your children to help others; it may be as simple as selling some of their old toys and clothes at a car boot sale for charity, holding a cake sale after school or participating in a sponsored event. However small the fundraiser, even the smallest of children can feel like they are making a big difference. Your child could get involved in a bigger, longer term initiative such as writing regularly to a care home resident or volunteering at a charity shop or animal home.
Teaching children to give back to the community has countless benefits for their mental and emotional development. As a result, it can pave the way to academic and interpersonal success.