School connection is the extent to which a young person feels like they belong at school and feels cared for by that community.
It’s built through relationships, and also perceptions about those relationships within the whole-school community.
As we know, the role of a teacher is more than about giving information on their subject. Teaching involves creating a connection with and between students. It is often the intangible bits of teaching that mean the most to both students and teachers.
Now, more than ever, teachers are feeling the need to help students ground themselves in a world that can feel unstable and insecure.
School connection is an intricate web of the relationships, values, culture and environment experienced by each individual in the school. We know from research carried out by Jigsaw and UCD that students in Ireland generally feel some sense of school connectednes. This research also showed that the feeling was lowest among third, fifth and sixth years.
School connection and mental health
School connection plays a role in the mental health and wellbeing of young people in a myriad of ways. Students who experience a strong sense of school connection tend to perform well academically. Academic performance and mental health and wellbeing are connected. A strong sense of school connection is also linked to higher feelings of self-esteem, increased happiness improved coping skills, reduced feelings of loneliness and lower emotional distress.