At Learnwell, we believe community – a sense of shared understanding and beliefs – should be authentic. That means we want our students and their families to have the kind of fellowship with others that they can share real life together: the good, the bad, and the mundane.
In fact, authentic community is one of our four core values. We believe that a student thrives when his or her family thrives, and a family thrives when they have support.
Authentic community isn’t just a roster of events. It develops over time through commitment and hard work, through investing in relationships with other families, and through being vulnerable as you develop those relationships. At Learnwell, we aim to make it a little easier by planning opportunities for you to connect: field trips, parent dinners and coffees, and school events to encourage friendship.
Why is friendship important?
Many of our families come here to help their child make friends, and the parents end up making friends too!
Why is friendship important? It helps parents and students alike to feel that they belong. Our shared sense of belonging, in turn, builds the community of support that Learnwell families can offer each other.
As students head to middle school and high school, this support system is vital. Of course, academics are a vital part of a student’s school experience. But the friendships that students and families develop during these years are also crucial to a student’s ability to thrive inside and outside the classroom.
Research shows that friendships among teens in particular contribute to
- Better immune health
- Higher self-esteem
- Lower rates of anxiety and depression
- A greater awareness of others and sense of empathy
How does Learnwell facilitate community?
Learnwell takes a three-pronged approach to authentic community. Our community coordinator plans events, field trips, and service opportunities to help students and their families connect. In addition, several times throughout the year, our staff team plans low-key opportunities for parents to connect over coffee and dinner.
We believe it’s just as important for parents to develop friendships through their child’s school as it is for the students. Our supportive teachers, smaller format, and partnership model make this easier than at some schools.
Other opportunities for students and parents to develop friendships are Learnwell’s Friday electives and serving in our community garden.
We know that when a student develops a solid, trustworthy peer group, it provides peace of mind to parents. While we cannot create these friendships for your students, we do everything we can to facilitate organic opportunities for students and their families to build lifelong friendships.
Community in Action: Students
Each week, our students spend a minimum of two days together to learn much more than academics. They’re also learning through peer interaction, collaboration in service, and projects outside of class.
Some examples of how our students build community simply through student life at Learnwell are:
- Middle school students serve our kindergarten and first grade classes weekly during their devotional time.
- Eighth grade students plan and coordinate fundraisers for some of the field trips that are unique to their grade.
- Elementary school students often work together during science and social studies to complete hands-on activities.
- Middle school students have the opportunity to participate in service projects just for older students. Serving together is one more way to connect.
- All grades work together several times a year for events such as the Science Fair, Arts Showcase, and Field Day. They also participate and lead each other in clubs regularly.
Parents get a “sneak peek” of what goes on at school through the Community Life page accessible online each week. It’s where we share photos and short descriptions of what happened at school that week.
Whether it’s a video recording they made or a cool science experiment they did, our parents get to experience some of that excitement through the Community Life updates each week.
Community in Action: Parents
We also invite parents to connect inside the classroom and through serving the school community with their skills, talents, and passions.
Early in each school year, our team asks parents what they want to do to serve the school community. We have microbiologists, horticulturalists, graphic designers, and more who jump in when they can to share what they love with students.
Some of these opportunities come through classroom projects while others are through our REACH program, in which we believe all students are gifted in some arena.
At other times, parents help out by reading books to their child’s class, helping oversee our older students as they plan an event, making a meal for a family who is sick, or decorating for a school event.
While none of these opportunities is required, when parents want to connect with other parents and/or get involved at Learnwell, there are multiple opportunities throughout each school year.
Would you like to receive free educational resources twice a month?