Stay Safe Out There

Way back in the late 1980's, I was attending a staff development workshop.
We were gathered in the media center ( that's what they called the library), listening to someone, I don't recall whom, tell us all about something, I don't remember what.

However, I do remember the bell ringing three times. Everyone looked around and wondered why the bell would ring when school was not in session. Then it rang again, three times. By this time, some teachers were getting up and heading for the hallway to see what was going on. This was about the same time someone realized that the signal for an "intruder in the building" was the one that was identified by three short rings of the bell.

Soon sounds of trash cans being overturned and thrown and loud voices telling these intruders to leave were heard. It turned out that the intruders were teenagers out looking for trouble, for lack of a better term.

There were no injuries to anyone, but it was a scary situation. I remember feeling really uneasy going down the long hallway, after the meeting, and turning into the shorter hallway of the first grade pod to access my classroom. 

My next experience with "intruder" drills occurred some ten years later when I returned to the same school district to teach Pre-K. This was in the late 1990's and things had changed a bit.

Drills were conducted to protect ourselves and our children against "armed intruders."  I remember quite vividly the outdoor drill. Teachers and children were instructed to lie down flat on the ground, cover our heads, and not move until told by the principal or other authority to get up and run into the building. I have to say that four year olds are much more amenable to lying on the ground than grown-ups are, for sure.

During inside drills, we closed the blinds, made sure the door was locked ( we were required to keep our classroom door locked at all times), turn out the lights, and sit grouped together in a corner of the classroom away from the door. During that time we were to remain absolutely still and quiet. I have to say that four year olds are not very amenable for doing that!

Conscious Discipline, developed by Dr. Becky Bailey, is built on the premise of developing discipline within children rather than applying discipline to them. It builds strong connections in families, classrooms, and teams. 

One of the basic tenets of the program is ensuring that the children feel safe in their environment.  The teacher tells the children, "It is my job to keep you safe, and it is your job to help me."  Classroom rules can be developed by the teacher and children using this philosophy.

In a 1943 paper, Abraham Maslow, outlined the hierarchy of needs of all people, not just children. There are five stages of needs included in the pyramid. It's interesting to note that immediately after the physiological needs, such as food, shelter, drink, warmth, and sleep are met, that the next need to be met must be safety.  

Protection from the elements, security, order, and freedom from fear must be present in order for children to learn and continue on to develop friendships, trust, and acceptance, to respect themselves and others, and to realize their potential to "become everything one is capable of becoming."

I do not have a sure fire solution to stop the violence in schools ( I have my own opinions as do you), but I do want to encourage teachers, parents, grandparents, administrators, and everyone else, for that matter, to do everything in your power to advocate for the safety of all children. 

School should be a fun, exciting, and encouraging place where children form positive relationships with caring adults and develop friendships with other children.  A place where they can learn to read, draw, paint, sing, dance, and discover how to navigate through the world, not a place where they have to hide in the corner in the dark.

That's it for now.
Check back later!


Popular posts from this blog

Covid, Covid Go Away! Little Ones Want to Play!

New Year--New Word--Maddietude.

One Word For a New Year