School connectedness is a significant protective factor for all students in preventing substance abuse, violence, absenteeism, suicide emotional problems and eating disorders. Students who feel connected to their school are also likely to have better academic achievement. Now, more than ever – even in a virtual setting, child caring adults must foster connections. Connection is made through ongoing and repetitive moment-to-moment interactions school professionals have with their students. For some, the guide of 5:1 noticing is useful. Aim for at least five positive interactions to every one corrective interaction with each student per day. Noticing comes in many forms:
- Greet the student by name.
- Praise for participation.
- Acknowledgment of character strengths.
- Gratitude for kindness or helpful interactions between yourself and student or student and peers.
- Checking-in: “How is your family doing?”
- Friendly gesture like a wave or head nod.
This may seem like a simple intervention strategy but it is powerful. Every interaction we have with a student matters because it provides an opportunity to promote a sense of safety and engagement.
To take fostering connection with your students a step further, you can use the worksheet Who I Am available to download below. Students can be asked to complete this worksheet and it can then be shared in classroom meetings, office hours and small group sessions with students and their peers.
Fostering connections is Step 3 in Starr's 10 Steps to Create a Trauma-Informed, Resilient School. This resource provides the foundation to empower students, staff, and family. Not only does 10 Steps feature easy to implement steps, but includes case studies, worksheets, and behavior intervention forms. Purchase today and save 50%!
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