Build a healthy school culture

Along is a free online platform that helps educators connect with their students, setting them up for positive outcomes —even within the challenging realities of today’s classrooms.

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What people are saying

Teacher-student connections open doors to support academic effort and learning in the classroom. We knew that we had to find some way to offer a different kind of connection for our students and teachers, and Along filled that void for us.”

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Will,
Executive Director of Equity and Engagement, Rochester Public Schools

In order for deep learning to occur, there has to be relationships with students. When teachers know what makes their students tick and what they are passionate about, they can better help them and make their students feel connected to the classroom. Along is a tool that starts conversations and relationship building in a systematic way.”

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Alyta,
Pasadena Independent School District’s associate superintendent for campus development

I made it a priority to put relationships first. Content will come. We've got to embed time in our school day to allow for social emotional learning, to allow for relationship building. With the Along tool, they are maturing. They are learning how to talk to each other. They’re learning how to talk and interact with adults in a positive way.”

Tanis Griffin

Tanis,
principal at Thompson Intermediate School

Grounded in research and practical experience

Along partners with researchers, experts in the field, teachers, and students to develop questions and resources designed to build strong relationships, solicit meaningful student input, and boost instructional practice.

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How to promote well-being in schools

Teachers and educational leaders are faced with a great challenge in addition to providing children with the best possible education – how to promote well-being in schools. To provide students with the best opportunities, educators can not only teach about the world around them – but can bring light to how students assess and tend to their well-being.

As educators begin to understand more about statistics around well-being in schools, they can develop better ways of supporting their students. Some school districts find that hiring additional personnel like a qualified school therapist or a counselor increases students’ access to resources. Schools can also forge a partnership with local organizations to assess the needs of the students in the district and develop programs that can help students who may need more support.

Another oft-overlooked aspect of promoting well-being in schools is the need to cultivate a school culture that reduces the stigma surrounding well-being, providing support in the way of early intervention services, and increasing the availability of support for students’ families. When students are better equipped to deal with anger, anxiety, and grief, they also become better equipped to learn – not just in the classroom but as unique individuals.

Students aren’t the only beneficiaries of improved well-being awareness and resources – staff (teachers, faculty, administrative staff, groundskeepers, bus drivers, etc.) are affected too. Their well-being is too often overlooked when people discuss the importance of promoting mental wellness.

Several studies have indicated that schools developing more robust wellness programs (especially when partnering with supportive local mental health organizations) can experience improvements in areas of disciplinary action and truancy rates, as well as improved graduation rates.

A great deal of responsibility rests on schools’ shoulders. Schools and educators are tasked with preparing young minds to understand the world around them and learn how to navigate it thoughtfully and carefully. Now, as we continue to learn more about the importance of wellness and its impact on our daily lives, educators can play a role in helping young learners fortify their well-being and acuity.

Importance of promoting emotional well-being in schools

The emotional well-being of students during the COVID-19 pandemic diminished significantly due to various contributing factors. It showcased how important mental health is for students and teachers alike. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of preparedness in situations of great tumult or uncertainty. Many schools without sufficient mental wellness resources might have struggled to adequately address students’ and teachers’ real and present mental healthcare needs. Wellness programs in schools can help ensure that kids have access to the resources they need to succeed academically and creatively.

Student well-being resources programs in schools

Why is student well-being important to consider for educators? According to research from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Wellbeing and Connection: Leveraging Principals in Ensuring Wellness and Connection, promoting a school climate that can openly discuss and address mental and emotional wellness can help students develop skills for dealing with conflicts, engage in healthier peer relationships, and have a more positive outlook.

Well-being initiatives and student wellness programs in schools can help students and families alike feel more positive about their school. Educators are preparing children for their very futures, and learners deserve to have every resource available to them so that they can shape their future how they want to.

Also read: Guest blog: Why a ‘relationships first’ strategy matters

The well-being of students during COVID-19 brought to light how student wellness were not being addressed as sufficiently as they should have been. When many schools switched from in-person classes to remote learning, some students were left behind. Some students had difficulties focusing in their new digital learning environments, while others may have missed entire lesson plans due to a lack of access to a stable Internet connection. Other students, who may have been able to stay on top of their schoolwork, were suffering from increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

As researchers discover more about how important mental wellness is for developing minds, schools can provide the support that students and faculty need.

Student well-being in the classroom

Maintaining the wellness of students is directly related to how well learners can engage with and absorb information from teachers’ lesson plans. In other words, student well-being in the classroom can help students feel freer to learn and more comfortable engaging with the materials being taught. Prioritizing student well-being in the classroom also sets an example for students outside of the classroom. If teachers and trusted adults priortize mental well-being, young minds will learn to do the same.

Well-being activities for primary schools

A great way for schools to support the well-being of students is by providing well-being activities. Some mental health and well-being activities for primary schools may include going outside on a nature walk, playing trust-building games and exercises, or simply conducting regular mental health check-ins.

Well-being activities for teenagers may involve discussing self-care or writing notes of positivity for a positivity bulletin board project, for instance. These activities can help students learn about themselves and their classmates, and help them cultivate a healthy sense of self and self-worth. Schools that enable students to work on their own mental health are helping students develop skills for life; that’s the importance of well-being activities in schools.

In addition to many in-person activities, there are also well-being activities for students online in the event of an eLearning day. And providing opportunities for staff and teachers to engage in fun well-being activities for adults can help support their mental health and well-being, too.

Schools have been asked to do so much with so little for so long; there’s outside pressure from parents with high expectations, and there’s pressure from local legislators to improve test scores and other measurements of academic success. When schools are granted the resources to address wellness adequately, the benefits can ripple outward and enact positive change throughout the school system.

Student well-being activities

Supporting the well-being of students in school can help young learners engage with the material more readily, but it can also support their mental health and well-being outside of the classroom. Student well-being activities and emotional well-being activities for students allow students’ minds a brief respite from continual pressures – the pressure to do well in school and make good grades, as well as social pressures like the desire to make friends. Mental wellness activities for students can offer students a chance to engage in the act of self-care.

Mental health and wellness are important for all ages – well-being activities for primary school students and well-being activities for secondary students are both great ways to support young learners on their educational journey. And students that become more familiar with identifying and addressing their emotional needs will be better prepared as adults.

Make time for fun well-being activities for adults the same way you would make time for fun well-being activities for students. By supporting staff and faculty, you empower educators who can then better support their students and their needs as individuals. There are innumerable benefits to providing wellness activities for students in school.

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