Building emotional safety for students in school environments: Challenges and opportunities
Health and Education Interdependence: Thriving from Birth to Adulthood
School of Education
© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020. Emotional safety is considered a defining component of a positive learning environment and is related to psychological well-being, and positive academic and social outcomes. In schools, emotional safety is developed through supportive relationships; being valued and treated with respect; and clear boundaries and support for students to achieve their potential academically, socially and personally. Research indicates that emotionally unsafe environments lead to stress, lower attendance at school, and less engagement in learning, whereas emotionally safe environments are related tomore positive identity development, better learning experiences and greater feelings of worth. A systems-focused approach is the most effective way to develop an emotionally safe environment. This chapter will explore: (1) the importance of emotional safety for students; (2) definitions of emotional safety; (3) approaches to intervention; and (4) measurement of emotional safety. By developing emotional safety in schools, it is feasible that there will be a positive impact on academic, behavioural, emotional, physical and mental well-being outcomes for students.