5 Ways to Help Kids Have a Sense of Belonging in School

The Importance of Belonging to a Larger Community

Finding ways to help kids feel like they are part of a larger community is essential. For me, that meant
providing my support for our spirit days.

Whether the theme was “The 70s”, holidays, or a Hawaiian
theme, I would always dress up in the spirit of the day.

Having school spirit gives students a sense of identity and community.

This results in feelings of belonging and helps students perform better academically.

We all crave interactions with other humans, and modeling school spirit is a great way to build that community.

Kids love to see adults being silly, and it was always a fun way to show them our
love for the school. Having school spirit is an excellent tool to teach students to be proud and enthusiastic


Here are 5 ways to help children have a sense of belonging:

1. Have your own students and friends role-play being the new student in the school, and observe what
everyone does to welcome that child. Role-playing is a great way to practice a new skill, making it easier
the next time. You can talk about it afterward.

2. Draw a picture of a time when you felt afraid and what the concern was about. Sometimes words can’t
express feelings, but pictures can do the job.

3. Keep a community journal of pictures where new students, or friends were welcomed. This could
include playing games together, being involved in sports together, or having some common interests.

4. Invite kids to share what they’ve seen others do to support a sense of belonging. This could include
games teachers play at the beginning of the school year or other ways to make connections.

5. Play “What Do We Have in Common” Bingo, or the playing card of “Find a person who also likes to
draw, dance, play video games, sing, etc.” If the child responds to music and it is age-appropriate, sing a
Welcome Song.

Belonging is so important because it is a basic human need. By being role models to
show kids how to belong to a community, we help them cultivate trusting relationships, feel safe and
secure, and feel confident and valued in their own identity.