All children need to feel they belong in the classroom, they need to have friends and to feel confident, but some children need more support than others to make this happen. We have collected some best practice examples to help you reflect on your own classroom and think about ways to create an emotionally enabling learning environment.

A space to be me

One primary school asked children what they wanted from their classroom. While some looked for a quiet space to withdraw to when things got too much, and others wanted privacy for their particular medical or support needs, they all agreed they mainly wanted ‘a space to be me’. This will be different for each child depending on their personality and learning style - so get views from the children in your class.

Communication friendly classrooms

Here teachers create learning zones where children are encouraged to talk to a partner to discuss their learning and share ideas. Different types of communication are encouraged - staff are trained in language development and alternative communication systems so they can support a range of needs. The importance of communication to making friends and in building self-esteem is well understood by everyone in the team.

Mentoring and supervision

When buddying systems are put in place, children without a strong network of friends and family can build relationships and share concerns, early on before they escalate. The session can be tailored to individual and changing needs.

Your environment

Find out if your classroom is a nurturing learning environment by gathering the views of everyone on the team – the children, the parents, staff and visiting professionals. Don’t ask what’s wrong, focus on making a positive difference by asking how can we make this classroom even better.

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