Sense of Belonging

A sense of belonging is the feeling of being accepted for who you are by others. Social relationships support healthy development, helping to buffer feelings of loneliness, isolation, and related negative outcomes; providing emotional and instrumental social support; and offering a source of meaning and purpose.

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What Does A Sense Of Belonging Include?

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Providing a sense of belonging is not only developing the student, but also creating an environment that fosters acceptance for all. Systems that promote a sense of belonging include a culture where all students:

  • Are accepted by the school community
  • Have opportunities to serve as leaders
  • Can make friends
  • Feel comfortable in interactions with peers and adults
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Let’s hear from the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network (PYLN) about the importance of healthy relationships.

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Providing a Sense of Belonging

Providing opportunities to spend time with others who have similar interests and the support needed to help students participate in activities with peers and friends with and without disabilities can be a focus for the transition team. To foster a sense of belonging, provide opportunities for:

  • Inclusive Education
  • Equitable Instructional Access
  • Facilitating Friendships
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How Can Adults Help Create A Sense Of Belonging For Students?

Adults can foster a sense of belonging by promoting:

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Instructional Access

Creating learning opportunities with the Universal Design for Learning framework.

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Equity and Inclusion

A healthy and safe environment can help students thrive. Inclusion first from the start.

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Building healthy friendships with peers and adults provides a sense of belonging within a personal context.

Featured Resources

The PA Community on Transition offers resources on a variety of topics, all focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.

Career Interested


Take a look at Erik Carter’s 10 Dimensions of Belonging



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Check out the calendar for events that may interest you.


Want to Learn PA Secondary

Want to learn more?

Explore this link to learn more about how to establish an authentic sense of belonging.