School connectedness is recognized as students’ active engagement in the academic and social opportunities at their school based on their understanding that teachers and other adults at school care for them as individuals, as well as for their learning. School connectedness contributes to students’ inner strengths, life-long resilience and positive mental health.
School connectedness is not a learning outcome of curricula per se. Rather, it is a condition fostered in a positive school environment, where teachers and other adults create opportunities for students to feel valued, supported, appreciated, involved, and engaged in the school setting.
Our understanding of the importance of school connectedness is continuing to evolve. Powerful engagement of students at school develops as students take responsibility for their own learning. Facilitating student ownership of learning coupled with positive relationships within the school community seem to work together to increase engagement and connectedness.
Further, the advantages of a positive school environment coupled with ownership of learning include greater well-being and happiness, an improved sense of belonging and better quality of life for students, and:
Students feeling connected is, in part, related to their ability to build and maintain positive relationships. BC curricula, such as Health and Career Education, Planning and Graduation Transitions, supports the social and emotional development of students in understanding, attaining and maintaining positive relationships with friends, peers, and adults.
- can result in better levels of academic achievement;
- can alter some of the more negative aspects of school life by reducing bullying and harassment, injury, truancy, and absenteeism;
- has the potential to diminish stereotyping and prejudice, fear, anxiety, depression and loss of motivation;
- can enhance feelings of well-being during childhood and provide sound foundations for positive health in later adolescence and adulthood; and
- can encourage students to respect their surroundings.
School connectedness draws on the concept of Social inclusion represents the degree to which individuals feel connected to their communities. More broadly, it is about the strength within
communities and organizations to ustain positive mental health. Connectedness within a community or organization can be measured by the extent to which
people feel valued, supported, appreciated, involved and engaged.
- Evidence Review: Mental Health Promotion,
BC Ministry of Health, May 2007