How to create a Safe and Welcoming School Environment

Creating a welcoming school goes hand-in-hand with safety. It can help foster a child’s motivation to learn.

The International Bureau of Education along with UNESCO have released a helpful booklet on the subject of creating a safe and welcoming school.  A summary of the document has been reproduced below:-

  1. A Welcoming Environment:- The school’s physical surroundings make the first impact on a student. A sense of cleanliness, order, inclusiveness and openness can stimulate a child’s interest and curiosity in learning.
  2. Safety:- Ensure a safe environment for students; respond to sickness and acts of aggression immediately. Keep strangers away from the school.
  3. Identify a Troubled Child:- In a safe and welcoming environment, an academically or emotionally troubled student needs quick attention.
  4. Student and Parent Orientation:- Orient and engage students and parents on the ways in which they can help make the school a safe and welcoming place. Do this early in the school year and repeat it throughout the year.
  5. Home and School Co-Operation:- The foundation of co-operation between the home and the school is COMMUNICATION. Children learn best when the lessons provided in school are supported at home.
  6. Crisis in the Community and the School’s Response:- When crises occur in the community or in the world, it is important for schools to provide factual information to students. This conveys to the student that the school is a safe island against storms of potential danger and also helps them engage positively with larger issues. Never overlook communicating to the students about a tragedy.
  7. Crisis Management:- In today’s world, a crisis can occur inside a school more often than ever before. A school needs a plan for handling crises. Students and parents will judge the school’s response to a crisis as a measure of the long-term safety of the school. It is crucial that the school acts decisively, quickly and systematically in the face of a crisis.
  8. School Discipline:- The simplest rules are the building blocks of school discipline. Enforcement of the rules, even those rules that seem least important toward learning, should be taken very seriously by all staff.
  9. Illegal Substance Abuse in Schools:- The use and possession of illegal drugs by students must be against school rules and violations of this rule must be enforced strictly. You must talk to the students about the issue but not in a way that is moralistic or isolated.
  10. Motivation-Building:- Motivation is most effective when it is self-motivation. Success in motivating students comes from adults surrounding the student with a positive, motivating atmosphere.

Download the complete document here