The Belonging System: A glimpse into the places where children feel they belong.

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In Social Studies, we are continuing our learning on Families & Homes. We have spent the beginning of the school year exploring the various ways families come to be. Some family members are born into their families and other are made with love and appreciation. We have concluded that families are formed through friendships, school communities, religious places like churches or synagogues, work, school and travels.

We are beginning our investigations on where families live and the types of places that can be considered home. We will discuss the types of homes people live in, in our communities and around the world. To start this conversation, we read the gorgeous picture book, You Belong Here, written by M.H. Clark and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. This book takes the reader on a lyrical journey of where plants, animals and children belong.

And the trees belong in the wild wood and the deer belong in their shade,

and the birds belong so safe and good and warm in the nests that they’ve made.

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After we read this book, we brainstormed the various places where we belong. We explained that belonging can be attached to a physical place like one’s home or favorite park. We can also belong to ideas, or places that make our hearts sing, nourish our souls, and ground us. I shared that I belong to words and writing, picture books, and my yoga corner. Using a systems map we asked, “Where do you belong?”  Our littles shared many interesting and heartfelt places of belonging.

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As a follow up activity, our little ones wrote a book where they chose five places using the sentence starter: I belong in / I belong with__________________.

Here are some of the wonderful places where we belong. It was also noted that no matter where we come from, there is always a place where we belong.

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.

– Mother Theresa

 

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2016 Purple Dragonfly Book Award:Monster Slayer!

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Monster Slayer/ Exterminadora de monstruos has been awarded a Purple DragonFly Book Award in two categories: Family Matters & Cultural Diversity – Honorable Mention.

The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards are geared toward stories that appeal to children of all ages. We are looking for stories that inspire, inform, teach or entertain. A Purple Dragonfly Book Awards seal on your book’s cover tells parents, grandparents, educators and caregivers they are giving children the very best in reading excellence.

Monster Slayer is a story based on my childhood. Growing up, I was not very kind to my little sister. As life presented me with challenges, my little sister was always there to save the day and I don’t know what I would do without her. I think it’s fitting that this bilingual picture book (English & Spanish) is being recognized as a book that helps teach siblings the importance of family and celebrates the richness of cultural diversity.

Here are some of my favorite Monster Slayer illustrations so beautifully done by the very talented Lina Safar.

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Congratulations to all the 2016 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Winners!

Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.