Education Now The Healing Power of Friendships and Relationships A discussion on how schools can help every student to feel that they belong — by encouraging friendships and supportive relationships. Posted October 21, 2021 By Nakul Grover Counseling and Mental Health Disruption and Crises Human Development The pandemic has caused many of us to recognize the power of relationships — for ourselves, and for our children. Have your children's friendships changed — or suffered? Are your students finding it hard to re-ignite their stalled connections? How can schools help to foster friendship — and prioritize strong relationships and a sense of belonging for every student? And what are the lessons we can take with us into our own adult lives?Host Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education and Co-Chair, Human Development and Education Program, HGSESpeakersTraci Baxley, Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University; and author of Social Justice Parenting: How to Raise Compassionate, Anti-racist, Justice-minded Kids in an Unjust WorldJean Rhodes, Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, University of Massachusetts BostonKey takeaways:Young people's relationships with teachers and other caring adults at school are vitally important — affecting motivation, academic performance, and overall well-being. A focus on friendships, relationships, and a sense of belonging is not "extra" or optional. It is essential, especially this year.Relationship mapping and quick classroom surveys can help ensure that every child is known and seen.You can model empathy and care for others — and show young people how to be a good friend. We should avoid a “false choice” between learning and connections. It’s not one or another — it’s both. Learning occurs in relationships.Resources:“Creating a Culture of Belonging” by Jean Rhodes“Helping Your Child Make Friends Again,” PBS Kids for Parents, with Traci BaxleyThe health benefits of friendship, from the Mayo ClinicA useful relationship-mapping tool for educatorsA quick classroom check-in survey to assess student wellbeingHow to build empathy and strengthen school community15 children’s books about friendshipCZI and Gradient Learning Launch Along, A New Tool to Support Teacher-Student RelationshipThe Mentorhub appEvidence-Based Mentoring Education Now A webinar and newsletter series to shape new approaches to challenges in education Explore All Articles Related Articles Education Now Hope and Resilience in Childhood A discussion of concrete ways to support children and adults in developing their capacities to weather the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Education Now Understanding the Relationship Between Parent and Teen Mental Health Strategies to better support the mental well-being of parents and caregivers, with a view to preventing anxiety and depression in adolescents Education Now Back to School - Moving Forward from Here HGSE experts surface key challenges and concerns for educators, leaders, and families — and share concrete ideas for addressing them.