The PTA and PTO's mission is to advocate for our children. Similarly, a school aims to further our children’s education and social and emotional growth. Understanding children's basic needs is critical to do both things effectively. In an earlier blog, we discussed those basic needs and some things a school community can do to address those needs. In this post, we feature three additional tips by Kristina Campos for educators to help children thrive.
Children's Emotional Wellbeing
Tip #1: Provide stability and predictability…but how in a pandemic?
When you create a stable and predictable schedule, children know what to expect, providing a lot of security for the child. Similarly, when there are a well-known set of rules and consequences, children feel secure because of predictable outcomes. Schools have traditionally been very good at both of these things. However, a pandemic has shaken up the way we educate, and because there is less stability and predictability, there is higher anxiety. In this situation, schools can over-communicate the changes and give as much advanced notice as practical. The more schools can minimize the changes, the more they can support the children. Teachers can also be observant and try to create those bonds with students virtually. Continue reading to learn more about what you can do to support Children's Emotional Well-being.
Tip #2: Encourage risks in the classroom and support the outcomes
Not all children are supported in taking risks at home, and they may not be accepted for differing views. These children will crave this kind of support in other avenues, including the classroom. What teachers can do is provide safe ways to take risks, and if the children fail, have a non-emotional discussion about why they failed and what lessons can be taken away from the experience. One key mistake parents and teachers often make is overreacting when a child makes a bad choice. Instead, teachers should tell the child it is ok and help them think through what they can do better next time. Make sure to have this conversation calmly versus emotionally.
Tip #3: Create one-on-one connections
I think it's really easy and very overlooked that a parent volunteer or PTA/PTO leader could play into creating bonds with children. If you are volunteering at an event and you have an opportunity to interact with the kids, look for opportunities to affirm what individual children are doing. For example, “What a great thing you did today. I saw that you did that, and it was great.” Affirming the kid's actions and creating that one-on-one connection can help to support children’s need for security and acceptance.
We hope these tips help children in your school community flourish. To learn more, check out our podcast episode at the Multipurpose Room Podcast.