This Back-to- School season brings a whole new set of challenges to teachers and students. Now more than ever, students know what it feels like to be socially isolated. As students transition back into in-person learning environments, we want to make sure everyone feels like they belong.
We all know that children and teens need backpacks, binders and lots of other school supplies when they head back to school. But this year, they also need some assistance reconnecting with other students in person.
To help students reengage and get to know their classmates after the long time away from in-person learning, we created Let’s Connect! to welcome students back to school with games and activities and help them get reacquainted and make new friends.
Let’s Connect! is provided at no charge to any school. Teachers, counselors and parents can register here for the online downloadable version of the materials.
The first 100 schools to sign up to participate in all three of Beyond Differences National Awareness Days will receive a special Let’s Connect! Activity Kit in the mail! The activity kit will include discussion prompts, fun student-led getting-to-know-you games and activities, stickers, bandanas, classroom posters, beach balls and more to support student volunteers in leading these activities and creating a culture of belonging in their school.
“As students return to school, many will feel uneasy and wonder: ‘What will school look like? Will my friends still be my friends?’ And who can blame them? Whether they struggled on the virtual platform and lost their self-confidence, or they’ve never set foot in their school building, or they haven’t met any classmates in person, they’re going to need help adjusting.
Children can’t learn if they don’t feel a sense of belonging, but the good news is that educators can play an important role creating a psychologically safe environment.
If you’re looking for creative ways to do that, check out Beyond Differences’ Let’s Connect!, a new program that offers games and activities designed to help students re-engage. Beyond Differences has always been devoted to teaching kids about authentic inclusion, and play is one of the most powerful ways to build community. And on the heels of so much disruption, it will be more important than ever this year to create a culture of trust and allay kids’ fears.”
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Professional School Counselor, Author and Journalist