What are some strategies for building a more positive sense of community in my classroom?

"Inclusion is not trying to fit students with special needs into a mainstream; instead it is creating a mainstream where everyone fits." - R. Stronsnider

We all would rather spend time in places in which we feel a sense of belonging and are accepted by the people who surround us. In order to support all students in their learning and development, teachers must build a classroom environment in which all children experience a sense of belonging and have their needs met.

Factual Information

There are many different facets of the classroom onto which a positive classroom community can be etched. As the teacher, you can model an understanding of differences and the uniqueness and worth of each individual. You can also model cooperative language for students and share stories about how faculty members cooperate to ensure the smooth functioning of the school. The way you arrange the furniture in your classroom and the pictures and posters you place around your room can also reinforce the idea of people cooperating and working together. If you read to your students, you can choose literature that supports the themes of working with others and cooperation.

Classroom Activities


Consult with your colleagues about activities and strategies they use to create a sense of positive classroom community.

Resources and Links

  • The not-for-profit organization, Kids Together, Inc., has the goal of removing barriers that exclude people who have disabilities. They believe that children who have with disabilities, like all children, have the need to be welcomed, cherished and embraced in our communities.
  • The National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports was established to address the behavioral and discipline systems needed for successful learning and social development of students. The Center provides capacity-building information and technical support about behavioral systems to assist states and districts in the design of effective schools.
  • The Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc. (NEFC) is a non-profit organization that is the sole source provider of the Responsive ClassroomŪ approach. The Responsive ClassroomŪ is an approach to teaching and learning that fosters safe, challenging, and joyful elementary classrooms and schools.
  • Tolerance.org is a website for people interested in creating communities that value diversity and in dismantling bigotry. Tolerance.org provides: practical resources for parents and teachers; entertaining and educational games for young children; daily news about groups and individuals working for tolerance and fighting hate; and, guidebooks for adult and youth activists.
  • The Search Institute is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. The Search Institute has researched forty developmental assets that students need to grow up healthy.