Creating a safe space is essential for students well being and vital to their learning. Some students may not feel safe anywhere but school. If they are struggling to feel safe, it’s unlikely that they’ll have the mental energy to focus on their studies. Supportive learning environment are ones designed to develop students into responsible, safe, and resilient adults. So how do we go about constructing these environments for students to thrive?
The first step to transforming your classroom into a safe space is to know your students, their communities, and backgrounds. Studies show that forming these bonds and positive impressions with the students can engage them to perform well academically. Creating those relationships can transform a student’s day.
An inclusive culture allows students to feel respected and valued in the classroom. When we show that we care about how a student’s day is going, they feel more inclined to engage with the material, voice their opinions and have a positive outlook on their education.
Having a check-in chart can help students assess their own feelings and also give you a better idea of how ready they are to learn. Opening up to an adult about academic struggles, bullying or problems at home can be extremely difficult. So once you’ve established that you have a vested interest in your student’s well being, they will be much more likely to come to you with those issues.
Create your Classroom
Writing stories, drawing, painting, and playing instruments not only provide a creative outlet for students, but also foster a sense of connection. When kids feel they can share their art in a classroom setting, they’re more confident and comfortable.
Daily creative breaks allow students to express their feelings and become more at ease in their surroundings. It’s also a great idea to start class projects that the kids can work on creating together, that you can also use to display in the classroom. Let the students be involved in choosing whatever medium works best for them.
An Inviting Environment
Sitting at a desk all day can seem sterile and stiff to some students. Consider using alternative seating areas like bean bags, stools, cushions, or even the floor. Creating a more physically comfortable environment can also translate to more motivated and attentive kids. Use resources like pinterest and instagram to search for new ways to make your classroom more visually dynamic and exciting. The learning environment that you create can go a long way in making students feel safe, welcomed and free to be themselves.
Creating a safe space in your classroom may seem like a major challenge, but there are many proactive steps we can take toward safe spaces for our students.
How do you build supportive space in your classroom? Tweet us at @pikmykid and let us know how your school is fostering these types of environments.