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Treasure boxes: A strategy for encouraging belonging

Louise Treweek, with Amanda Cloke, Christine McKean, Rajam Walter, and Vicky Huang

From 2018 to 2020, teachers at Hillcrest Kindergarten in Hamilton have been working alongside a team of researchers from the University of Waikato in a TLRI-funded research project, “Strengthening belonging and identity of refugee and immigrant children through early childhood education”. The research aims to develop theories and practice strategies on how early childhood education (ECE) can enable refugee and immigrant families and children to construct positive outcomes for belonging and participating in Aotearoa New Zealand, while sustaining and contributing important cultural aspects from their home country. This article explores one facet of their journey, looking at how children’s sense of belonging can be strengthened by using artefacts from children’s homelands to build intercultural understanding and enhance connections with peers.

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