Maslov ranked Sense of Belonging before Self-Esteem on his hierarchy of needs. Meaning that without a social context in which a person can validate his perceived worth, self-worth is not internalized.
Yet we often witness groups of young children being reconfigured each year without regard to established relationships at the start of each school year. It is with schools- both at the early childhood and elementary levels especially- that affords the best opportunity to establish community and sense of belonging.
A strong sense of community provides the foundation upon which a child can develop the degree of her self-regulation to temporarily place her own will aside even for the benefit of the group to which she belongs- collaboration. In doing so, the child is rewarded internally by a deep satisfaction his contributions have provided to the whole- a deep feeling of worth he would not have been able to receive by simply attending to his own needs.
A feeling of BELONGING.
We like to cultivate this feeling on our very first day returning to school. The Flag Ceremony initiates the process as school community elders open classroom activities for the day. Spontaneously, the younger children join in…