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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Home away from home

From the Bowling Green Toddler Room:

You may have noticed that we’ve been going through a few changes in our room lately.  We’ve moved a couple of things around, bought new furniture, used different materials in different ways but all with a purpose in mind.

After our visit to Hilltop we’ve sat down as a team and have had many discussions about our program and we’ve been inspired to change our environment and have it reflect and honour the children, the families, and educators of our program.

As a whole, we love the idea of providing a “home away from home” for the children and families, as well as the educators.

While picking up Matthew, Maja and Melanie engaged in a conversation that led Melanie to express to Maja how we’ve wanted to plant more trees and flowers in our yard.  To Melanie’s surprise, Maja mentioned that they were landscaping their home and had many flowers and plants they were getting rid of and offered to bring them in for us.  Melanie was ecstatic and told us the exciting news later that afternoon.  The following day, Melanie went over to Matthew’s house to help dig up the plants and flowers that Matthew and his family were giving to us.

When Melanie arrived at the center with the plants and the flowers, the children were immediately curious and wanted to take part in what was happening.  They asked many questions about what these things were that Melanie was bringing in and what we were going to do with them.  Melanie went on to explain that these plants and flowers were from Matthew and his family and that she had gone to his home to help bring them to the center.  When she asked the children if they wanted to help plant the different items the children answered with an excited “Yes!” including Matthew.

We are so grateful to Matthew and his family for sharing something from their home with us.  Bringing something from home is always special to the children.  Whatever it is they bring, they always want to show everyone and talk to everyone about it.  This special item they bring, whatever it may be, is a connection to their home life in which most cases provides a sense of comfort for the children along with belonging while being away from home.

This led us all to think it would be great if every child and their family picked an item they would like to donate to the program (for example a basket, blanket, pillow, lamp, etc.) that’s meaningful both to the child and their family and have it be a part of our classroom?

We would love to have all of these different and personal items to create a place that feels like home to each child and family.  I believe it will encourage the children to continue to thrive and feel a sense of well-being and belonging when they come in.

Having a place that they can truly call their own by sharing a piece of their home with us, is the beginning of a family oriented place we would love to have and share together in our room.

We’re really excited and looking forward to having our families be a part of this meaningful experience in the near future.