It is human instinct to want to belong.
Historically, humans have worked as a social tribe predominantly for physical protection and mutual benefit. In today’s world, it is relevant to say that connection is also a form of emotional protection. Connection can form a shield against isolation, loneliness and mental ill-health. Humans need each other to be their advocates, their comforters and their mentors. Here are a few ways in which we foster connection within School Beyond Limitations community:
We Value Empathy and Compassion
As an online School, we foster an empathetic and compassionate environment. The difference between the two is important to note. ‘Empathy does not require that we have been through the same thing as another person, simply that we meet them where they are now.’ (Andy Puddicombe) When we act on this empathy by taking concrete action to support others, this is compassion. Both empathy and compassion are powerful tools for building bridges within the SBL community.
We Employ Active Listening
It is our firm belief at SBL that if students feel heard, they will be able to talk more about their lives, how they learn and what makes them tick. The more students are listened to, the more they will feel safe to share their true selves with others. This leads to stronger connections. Techniques that facilitators use include: reflecting back students’ words, empathetic, non-verbal communication, open questioning and checking for understanding by summarising and clarifying the conversation content.
We Raise SELF Awareness
To be a good communicator and connect well with others, students need to have “the very best kind of emotional education. ‘They need to “understand what [they themselves] think and feel.’ (The School of Life) At SBL we support this journey of self discovery in our students in a number of ways. Journaling and meditation are part of our daily practice, check-ins involve equipping students with the tools they require to explain what they think and feel and a wide range of holistic stimuli is used within our classes to promote debate and self-advocacy.
We Create Opportunities for Community
Communities can provide a space for connection to take place and offer a sense of belonging. Knowing you are a valued member of a group can raise self esteem and arm you with the agency to follow your interests, discuss important topics and learn something new. In mentoring, students are encouraged to discuss their social interactions and their own communities outside of school. At School Beyond Limitations, a range of virtual communities are on offer from language classes to the Model United Nations Club.
At School Beyond Limitations we firmly believe that connection is a key tenet to bringing the unique essence of each student into life. Connection is both the foundation of resilience as well as a springboard for growth. It is our mission to educate our students to feel a true sense of belonging as part of the SBL community.
If you also wish for your child to experience such a community, where every child is seen and encouraged in their uniqueness, please reach out to us.