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Building a Safe Learning Environment in the Classroom

Learn how to create a safe preschool classroom.

Building a Safe Learning Environment in the Classroom

Building a Safe Learning Environment in the Classroom

Creating a safe learning environment should be your top priority as an early childhood educator. Taking precautions to create a safe environment for your children will help them feel valued and foster their physical, social, and emotional development.

What is a safe classroom environment?

A safe classroom environment aims to make children feel protected and valued. It promotes trust between children and educators, allows children to ask questions and take risks, supports children's safety and learning, and celebrates children's self-expression, diversity, and achievements.

A safe learning environment should be inclusive to all of your children, and it should promote every child's social-emotional development and support children who have experienced trauma.

Children sitting around a table doing arts and crafts with two teachers.

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Why is it important to create a safe learning environment?

Creating a learning environment that prioritizes your children's safety without restricting their learning opportunities is crucial to helping them reach their social and emotional developmental milestones. A safe, inclusive classroom allows children to explore and learn without risks to their health, safety, or well-being. Children who don’t feel safe or valued are less likely to participate in classroom activities.

How to create a safe classroom environment

Follow these tips to help your children feel safe in your classroom.

Supervise your children

Pay close attention to your children and implement active supervision strategies to prevent accidents and injuries. Place your educators around your classroom so they have a clear view of all your children. Your educators should use their knowledge of each child's abilities and tendencies to anticipate their actions and redirect them when necessary. Actively supervising your children helps your staff be proactive so you can keep a careful eye on them as they learn and explore.

Carefully arrange your classroom

Your classroom should be clean, well-lit, and furnished with age-appropriate furniture. Routinely inspect your furniture and discard any broken furniture. Make sure that your classroom's furniture arrangement allows for clear routes through the classroom to prevent children or staff from tripping or injuring themselves.

Establish clear rules for your classroom

Giving your children clear classroom rules and routines teaches them your expectations and helps them feel comfortable and confident. Setting clear expectations and routines removes the stress children may feel when they don’t know what to do next, especially if they’re shy, anxious, or struggling to ask for help.

Build positive relationships with your children

Building positive relationships with your children will help them learn to trust you and feel safe in your classroom. Getting to know your children will also help them feel appreciated and heard. Greet each of your children during drop-off each morning and check in with your children throughout the day.

Taking time to build positive relationships with your children will show them you care about them, are there for them, and want them to be safe and happy.

Practice emergency procedures

Create an emergency preparedness plan that outlines the procedures your staff will follow to prepare for and respond to an emergency. Your emergency preparedness plan should include:

  • Information on disasters that could occur in or near your preschool that will require preparation (fires, hurricanes, floods, gas leaks, tornadoes, etc.)
  • A schedule of planned emergency drills
  • Your children’s and staff’s emergency contact information
  • Your children’s medical and physician information
  • Designated locations where you, your children, and your staff will gather in the event of a building evacuation

Keep dangerous supplies out of children’s reach

It’s important to keep cleaning supplies, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals out of reach of your children. Keep these supplies in their original, labeled containers and store them in a locked room or cabinet that your children can’t access.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers tips and advice for protecting children from exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. It also provides first-aid instructions that you should use if your children are exposed to dangerous substances.

Final thoughts

With diligence and care, you can create a preschool classroom that makes your children feel safe and provides them with a stress-free environment that encourages them to learn and explore.

To further support your children’s growth and development, download our free list of activity ideas across developmental domains.

Activities Across Developmental Domains - brightwheel

Download our free list of activities across developmental domains!

 

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