Having a sense of belonging involves more than simply knowing other people. It is also focused on gaining acceptance, attention and support from others, as well as having the opportunity to provide the same to other people.
When the pandemic interrupted our lives and changed the way we live suddenly, many of our young people’s main sources of connection with peers and extended family members were removed overnight without warning. In 2020, our youngest students were only in Year 5 and our current Year 12 students were in Year 10. The social impact of separation is still experienced by many students today.
As human beings, we have a basic emotional and biological need for connection. It provides us with feelings of identity, security, support, acceptance and community. Students who have a sense of belonging will experience these feelings, which in turn supports their academic, psychological and social development. It involves a period of adjustment when young people come together again after a period of instability. Whilst the rules of the group may be established, acceptance remains paramount and can therefore mean some behaviours become far from rational, making it difficult for their brain to focus on learning. These combined factors may cause young people to be vulnerable, and it can sometimes tempt them into making choices or becoming involved in situations they may not ordinarily consider.
There are still many young people struggling to connect and regain their sense of belonging. This Special Report provides guidance to families who find themselves in this situation. We hope that you have an opportunity to engage with the information and please share with us any concerns relating to your child.
The term break is a time for rest, relaxation and renewal, as well as continued social connection with peers and parents may play a part in encouraging and supporting these interactions.