Building relationships at school is important. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions we get asked when families attend a Discover Learnwell event. Caring parents want to know:

  • How will my kids get involved?
  • Will they make friends easily?
  • How will I as their mom or dad get to know other parents?
  • What activities will draw us into the school community?

This article explores how building relationships at school isn’t just a “given,” but something that requires movement — on the part of the school, the students, and their families.

Building Relationships using Shared Interests and Academic Pursuits

One of the ways we offer students and their families to get involved in the community life at Learnwell is through shared interests, passions, and pursuits. Many students discover their interests and passions in class because of a teacher who structured an assignment so that all students can shine.

For example, in 5th grade, students in Mrs. Cori’s class spend time each spring researching a career that interests them. We’ve had students discover they have a love of engineering because they love to take apart and build models to explore how machines work. Other students have learned that they have a passion for animals, art, or directing video shoots all because of assignments and programs offered in classes at Learnwell.

Here, students can explore their interest in broadcasting, video journalism, and direction through our StoryLab at Learnwell. This is where students get to be on camera, behind the camera, and editing videos that are recorded during the school day. Many of our teachers assign class projects throughout the year to take advantage of our in-house video production studio. Once students are in 8th grade, they can begin interning to help run the lab.

But all students get hands-on exploration of what a video shoot involves, how to operate a camera, and a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.

Other students take part in the Tech & Engineering Innovation Expo or science fair to discover friendships through learning about the scientific process or inventions. Some of our students have advanced to regional and state competitions because of their innovative designs and inventions.

Building Relationships through Clubs, After-School Activities, and Field Trips

Another way students get to know others is through after-school activities, clubs and teams. Whether it’s the after-school electives — everything from art to American Sign Language and music — or middle and high school clubs, such as the yearbook staff or drama, students are finding out what they enjoy and making friends who enjoy the same things.

Our One-Act Play crew competed in the GAPPS regional competition, and some students pursued drama through our school Christmas pageant, which is organized as part of our REACH program. Still more students are getting involved behind the scenes through our production team for the school’s spring play, which is open to all middle and high school students.

We are in the process of building other programs too. Some may include robotics club, worship and arts, and cross country. And high school students have plenty of leadership opportunities to start their own clubs based on their interests.

Field trips are another way students at Learnwell get a chance to connect outside of the classroom. Students in different grade levels have enjoyed opportunities to take part in the following:

Making Friends through Shared Values & Service Opportunities

Families at Learnwell enjoy serving together, and students also get to take part in service opportunities together. Students join together annually to take part in the Walk for Water, where they support the building and repair of wells in South Sudan through our partnership with Water Is Basic.

Other service opportunities have included helping at the Meals by Grace food bank, making sandwiches to assist food insecure households through The Sandwich Project, and providing artwork for hospitals and senior centers across the country through Foundation for Hospital Art.

Some students enjoyed serving so much that they organized their friends to return to volunteer together.

The opportunities to make like-minded friends at Learnwell are growing and evolving to meet the needs of currently-enrolled students. Learn more about our community life by attending a Discover Learnwell information night.