How to Create a Safe Learning Environment

When I think back to my school years, the classes I enjoyed the most were organized, inviting, peaceful, and welcoming. As a teacher, I strive to create the same safe learning environment for my students. For some students, this is the only peaceful and welcoming atmosphere they will experience during their day. The one thing I can control with my students is my attitude and environment I provide for them. I want a safe place and a room where they feel comfortable and loved. Follow these steps to create a safe learning environment for your students.

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How to Create a Safe Learning Environment

Creating a safe learning environment can happen if you build relationships with your students, create a comfortable physical environment, and set clear goals and expectations. 

1. Build Positive Relationships with your Students

Some students seek and desire a positive role model in their lives. All students should have teachers who help them feel safe and loved in the classroom. It is easy as humans to see the negative, but students will recognize and appreciate the extra effort to build positive relationships with them.

In the high school classroom, I see six different classes a day for fifty minutes each. That does not leave a lot of time to get to know students. I have to plan out my day and be intentional about building relationships.

Here are some things I do in my classroom to build positive relationships:

    • Greet students at the door with a smile. A smile can go a long way!
    • Celebrate birthdays with treat bags. This is a new thing I am trying this year and it is going so well. I absolutely love giving gifts and watching my student’s faces light up when I give them a birthday gift is priceless.
    • Learn student’s names and personal interests. I have always struggled learning names. I take pictures and make flash cards. I also try to relate their name to something personal about them.
    • Attend extracurricular activities to support students outside the classroom. I collect an “about me” paper on the first day of class so I get to know what everyone does in their free time and who is involved in sports. 
    • Have a daily check in to see how your students are doing. Sometimes this simple act will be a reminder to students that you care about them.

2. Create a Comfortable Classroom

Some students do not have a comfortable place to relax. I want my classroom to be inviting and safe. There are a few things that can be done to the physical environment to help students feel comfortable.

Maintain an organized classroom

Clutter and chaos can be stressful to students. On the flip side, pristine classrooms can make students feel like they cannot relax. There should be a nice balance between organized and spotless.

Proper classroom organization can help with the flow and management of the classroom. Students should know the daily routine and what to expect. Consistency is key! Don’t keep changing the procedures.

<<Do you have a computer cart in your classroom?>>

Check out my guide to organizing a computer cart.

Diffuse essential oils

There are several reasons I diffuse essential oils in my classroom. Diffusing essential oils helps increase focus, eliminate odors, calm students, and promote a positive classroom.

Another benefit to essential oils is they are natural, but remember, they can be potent. A little goes a long way. You might want to confirm with the nurse or administration before diffusing (especially with younger children).  

Some of my favorite scents to diffuse are 

    • Frankincense for concentration
    • Lemon, basil, and peppermint to freshen up the air
    • Lavender to reduce stress
    • Orange, clove, and cinnamon during the winter months to help fight germs

To begin your essential oil journey, you’ll need filtered water, a diffuser, and oils. If you have never used essential oils before, I usually order from Young Living for personal use. However, for classroom use, Plant Therapy is my go-to brand. They are the best price for the quality.

Continue reading about essential oils at home for kids <here>. 

3. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Having clear goals and expectations will set boundaries for students. In reality, students appreciate boundaries and need them to feel safe.

Students will perform better when they know what to expect. Routines and organization are important when trying to establish an inviting and safe learning environment.

    • Post daily goals in a visible location
    • State clear classroom expectations and make sure you have support from administrators, parents, and guardians.
    • Keep downtime to a minimum. Let’s face it – kids get squirrely when they don’t have something to do. 
    • Reduce cellphone use or {better yet} eliminate cell phones altogether!

Create a safe learning environment

How do you create a safe learning environment? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

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