More and more studies are showing that creating a positive, safe, and caring community within a classroom and a school is the foundation on which the pillars of Math, Language, etc. are supported. A strong social and emotional base is the key to assist students in weathering the stresses they face in our increasingly complex society. Children learn best and are more engaged and ultimately successful when they feel safe, supported, reflected, and connected.
How do we do it?
Children and adolescents take their cues from adults. As educators, we set the tone and model what is acceptable in our community. Creating a positive environment in which students have a voice, feel safe, connected, and are cared about allows them to take risks and to do their best learning.
The maintenance of this classroom community is an ongoing, collaborative, and evolving effort between educators and students. As with all learning and growth, these skills need to be explicitly taught, practiced, and reinforced with feedback.
Some start point questions:
How do you foster and build community within your classroom? Your school?
How are students greeted each day?
How do you explicitly promote students feeling safe, connected, and cared about?
How do you build relationships with your students and promote healthy relationships amongst your students?
How do you model kindness, respect, and empathy?
How do you encourage and support student voice?
How often do you meet as a class so students can share ideas or concerns?
The first step in “Building Community” is an open mind, a loving heart, and an attitude of acceptance.
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