By encouraging respectful attitudes and behaviours among young people, a school can prevent racism, discrimination, harassment, bullying and other kinds of aggression—the result being a safe and caring learning environment for all.
Parents, schools and communities agree that helping children and youth engage in and maintain healthy relationships is an important and common concern. As social learning environments, schools are ideally positioned to help build these skills and relationships. However, schools face many challenges within the current landscape, including competing pressures to promote both academic and social outcomes, fragmented and uncoordinated programming, and lack of resources.
Recognizing the need for an enhanced and coordinated collective effort to encourage healthy relationships and foster safe and caring learning environments, Safe and Caring has conducted an environmental scan and stakeholder consultation to identify existing programs and supports and better understand the needs of educators, schools and school systems in Alberta regarding healthy relationships and bullying prevention. These findings reflect the current state of safe and caring practices, programs and policies across Alberta.
Self-regulation is the ability to manage your own energy states, emotions, behaviours and attention, in ways that are socially acceptable and help achieve positive goals such as learning, maintaining good relationships, and achieving well-being. Teaching kids to self-regulate has a positive impact on their academic and social outcomes.
Good mental health isn’t just about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a perfect life. It’s about living well and having the tools for coping with difficult situations even during life’s challenges. This toolkit includes resources to help adults and youth alike find ways to cultivate positive mental health.
Safe Spaces is a joint initiative of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities. The Safe Spaces initiative focuses on three critical areas necessary to address discrimination and prejudice in schools: respecting human rights, respecting individuals and taking personal responsibility.
Building a safe, caring and inclusive culture where LGBTQ children, youth, teachers and parents feel welcome starts from the inside. This toolkit includes resources to help adults and youth alike find ways to cultivate a true culture of caring.
Research on school improvement and brain development, shows a direct correlation between a positive school culture and academic achievement. Evidence also shows that welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments result in increased attendance and reduced rates of bullying and early school leaving.
To improve outcomes for students, in addition to ensuring quality teaching and leadership, we must be intentional about creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.
Revisions to the School Act as part of Bill 10 (in force June 1, 2015) set out responsibilities for all partners in the education system, including students, parents and school boards. All partners have a responsibility to do their part to ensure welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.
To help all partners understand and implement these responsibilities, the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities partnered with ASBA to develop a toolkit that includes support for all stakeholders.
The Government of Alberta provided funding for this initiative.
UPDATE: Safe and Caring is continually accepting feedback on these resources from educators, administrators and policy makers. Please feel free to forward comments or requests for future resources. Posted are the most recent and up-to-date versions of these documents.
There are many approaches schools can take to create more welcoming, safe, caring and respectful
learning environments. The documents in this toolkit can help educators, parents and other caregivers to identify the best literature, events, school materials and school-based programs to help children and youth cultivate social emotional skills and better understand life experiences.
These resources were created in partnership with WITS Programs.