The PTA and PTO mission is to advocate for our children. Similarly, a school’s mission is typically to further our children’s education as well as social and emotional growth. In order to effectively do both of these things, understanding children’s basic needs is critical. In a blog post we discussed those basic needs and some things a school community can do to address those needs. In this article, we feature three additional tips, by Kristina Campos, for educators to help children thrive.
Tip #1: Provide stability and predictability…but in a pandemic, how?
When you create a stable and predictable schedule, children know what to expect and it provides a lot of security for the child. Similarly, when there are a well known set of rules and consequences, children feel secure because there are 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 there less 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 will be able to support the children. Teachers can also be really observant and obviously try to create those bonds with students virtually.
Tip #2: Encourage risks in the classroom and support the outcomes
Not all children get 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 in 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 to overreact 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 as 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 really saw that you did that and it was great.” Affirming the kids 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. If you want to know more, check out our podcast episode on this topic at themultipurposeroom.school.