KIDSMATTER STATES…”Belonging improves mental health, wellbeing and learning All children need to feel that school is a safe place where people will care about them, where their needs for support, respect and friendship will be met, and where they will be able to get help to work out problems. When these needs are met children develop a sense of belonging at school. Belonging is very important for children’s mental health and wellbeing. Children who feel that they belong at school are happier, more relaxed and have fewer behavioural problems than other students. They are also more motivated to learn and be more successful with their school work. Research into children’s mental health has found that a sense of belonging and connectedness at school helps to protect children against mental health diffi culties and improves their learning. Making friends and having positive relationships with teachers helps children develop a sense of belonging at school. Having older ‘buddies’ to turn to helps younger children feel that school is a place where they can get help if they need it. Looking after younger children encourages caring and helping in older children and helps to reduce conflicts and bullying. These are some of the ways that children’s sense of belonging at school can be supported.”
On the 12th June, it was National Better Buddies Day. This day highlights the importance of cultivating relationships in the school. The program has a focus on the relationship and bond created between older and younger students. Through the year these groups of students work through a variety of activities together.
Building relationships throughout the whole school with cross age activities such as collaborative groups, special days such as tabloid sports activities and student action promotes a sense of citizenship but also action together.
Meditation, circle time and other collaborative strategies give students a sense of belonging and a voice.
Making friends is really an important part of that sense of belonging and there are times that students need support and guidance when developing friendships. resources such as those on the KIDSMATTER website have advice around making friends.