The start of school can incite anxiety for students. The best way to reduce students' anxiety is to create a safe, healthy and positive learning environment.
Each new school year brings about many changes for students - new teachers, new schedules and new classmates. These new experiences spark curiosity, the engine of optimal learning, which leads to discovery. However, the start of school can also incite anxiety. When children feel anxious, it can be difficult for them to concentrate, participate and learn. The best way to reduce students' anxiety is to create a safe, healthy and positive learning environment. When a child feels safe, her curiosity is heightened, her confidence grows and she is open to discovering new things.
Below are three tips for establishing a safe learning environment in your program:
- Be predictable. Establish predictability through consistent behaviors, routines, expectations and clear rules. Interaction with students should be consistent and nurturing. Use your smile and your voice to help make students feel safe.
- Be encouraging. Motivate students to take risks. Start off with challenges that pose minimal risk, and acknowledge effort. Success will help to enhance students' confidence, warding off anxiety and inviting curiosity.
- Be aware. Recognize when students are becoming frustrated, and give them quiet time. This helps the students to internalize the new experiences of the day, which leads to better learning.
Creating a safe learning environment is a necessary foundation for student achievement. Establish a sense of safety to help foster students' curiosity and love of learning.