Safe spaces in schools benefit students

A school has commonly been known as a safe place for people to find structure and protection, on the other hand, there are multiple reasons as to why one may not feel accepted or understood at school. This may cause one feel lost and avoid the anxiousness triggered by their environment, leading to concentration issues and academic difficulty. To ease these ongoing problems for many students, certain schools have been aiding with safe spaces. These low stimulation spaces are able to help calm students, allowing them to practice appropriate emotional understanding and behavior while in school, and improving their focus abilities for academic success.

The exact origin of a safe space is unknown, but some trace it back to the 1960s women’s movement. They were used as a means to create protective spaces for women against violence and to provide a community to make change. These places have been a place where people could find practical resistance to political and social repression, according to Concordia University-Portland. With the various issues surrounding us today, a safe space in every school would be very beneficial to the students mental health, and the result of the teacher’s skills.

Many students face domestic problems, discrimination due to one’s sexuality or race, or overcoming trauma, making concentration difficult. Researchers have found that when our mental resources are “devoted to monitoring one’s environment for cues of rejection” then they are not able to comprehend and remember academic content.

Safe spaces would enable students to calm themselves in a quiet place when their stress levels are rising. This prompts children to practice mindfulness, or maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and surrounding environment with openness and curiosity. Safe spaces also help the relationship between teacher and student to remain trusting, as teachers have another option to calm students rather than manually removing them from their surroundings, students will be willing to go.

Research from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that children of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds experience and are impacted by trauma. It is suggested that between half and two-thirds of all school-aged children experience trauma, as they are exposed to one or more adverse childhood experiences that can be trauma-inducing. It may be very difficult for teachers to help their students who are facing these kinds of issues. There are trauma informed instructions to prepare teachers for the symptoms of trauma in a classroom setting. Being informed about how to handle a student dealing with trauma or issues affecting their focus can make an immense difference in the academic outcome.

The benefit of a safe space is to provide a calm, quiet environment for students facing issues to evaluate their thoughts, feelings, and regain concentration to learn the content. These separate spaces and trauma informed practices help students learn to self-regulate and process negative emotions like anger and sadness while achieving the mental state capable of academic success. These habits help to develop long term, self-manageable abilities that make room for development.

As for in our own school, multiple rooms set aside as a safe space for students would be largely beneficial to one’s learning. These quiet spaces should be monitored and looked over by someone capable of aiding a student. Comfortable and inviting surroundings is suggested, as well as options for students to use their creativity. Drawing, writing, reading, or painting materials should be available, as well as the option of a nap time. The improvement of concentration will be influenced by the healthier mindset students have the ability to put themselves in. Excusing themselves for a certain period of time encourage them to regain their sense of belonging and reason as to why they are learning, improving their perspective towards mental health and academic success.