There is extensive research showing that belonging at school leads to increased mental and physical health, as well as greater learning.

I had the privilege of standing at the drop-off area on Wednesday morning as the kids returned to school. I expected to see a good number of sleepy faces (and there were a few of those) but there were far more smiles. Many students were really happy to be back at school. What makes students so willing to leave vacation behind and come back to the daily routine of school?

One very important factor is a sense of belonging. There is extensive research showing that belonging at school leads to increased mental and physical health, as well as greater learning. We definitely believe that to be the case and are intentional about including programs to help students feel that they belong here.

Earlier this week, we had visits from several alumni. They are currently scattered across the globe, but Dalat is still special to them. One of them thanked me and the staff for planting such important seeds in his life when he was younger. Even though these students have been out “in the world” for a few years, they still feel like they belong at Dalat.

In the Bible, our belonging to one another is compared to a body. The body has many parts – hands, feet, eyes, brain, etc. – but all belong to one body. Each part has a specific function, but all are valued and essential. That’s the sense of belonging we want to cultivate here at Dalat. Each student is unique, but also significant and important.

For all of you new families, we really want you to feel welcome at Dalat. Our counselors will be working with new students this semester to help them feel included. Some bumps along the road are normal during this transition, but if you have any concerns about your kids our school counselors are here to help!

We also want parents to feel a sense of belonging in the Dalat community. The PTO plans great events and opportunities to connect. Parents are welcome to visit on campus after school each day. We love to see kids playing while parents chat and connect with one another in the late afternoons. Thanks for belonging to Dalat!

Written by Shawna Wood

Ms. Shawna Wood is dedicated to mentoring and discipling the next generation. Shawna has a Master of Education and has been at Dalat since 2012, first as Middle School principal and now as Deputy Head of school​.
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