Providing a safe space is critical for after school programs striving to help children thrive.
In fact, an article by Youth Today suggested that creating a safe space could foster key social and emotional learning skills.
However, there are currently no formal standards to determine whether or not a program has created a safe space for students. To get more insight into how to define and create a safe space, researchers at the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality interviewed U.S. after school providers across the nation. Their findings identified three overarching characteristics of safe spaces:
- Cultivation of ground rules for group processes (such as listening, turn taking and decision making), sharing of emotions.
- Cultivation of a culture in which people actively care for each other.
- Promotion of equity and inclusion, and demonstration of support for the principles that all youth are different, equal and important.
These insights can be used as guidelines to help program staff define and create a safe space after school. For more information, read the full Youth Today article.