A classroom environment is more than just the physical space that the class occupies. It is the feeling of acceptance and the power of community that defines each class. In a time where bullying and unhealthy lifestyles are more prevalent than ever, it is critical for teachers to create a healthy classroom environment where students feel safe, can thrive, and have a physical environment that promotes healthy choices. The 25 tips below can help achieve that.
- Set clear behavior expectations from the first day.
- Have a no-bullying tolerance policy with clear consequences.
- Spend time building the classroom community and discussing how students are more alike than different.
- Adopt “bucket filler” thinking and encourage students to point out the positive.
- Model being the positive person you want your students to be from the moment they enter the classroom.
- Create a class “Get Fit” routine and take daily fitness breaks even if it is just for five minutes.
- Dance to relieve stress, get the wiggles out, and transition to new activities.
- Encourage healthy snack options and host a “Mystery Fruit Friday” by bringing in unusual fruits each week for children to sample.
- Have a “Walk Across America” Challenge throughout the year and encourage students to wear pedometers and track their steps. See if you can make it across the United States by the end of the school year.
- Bring in plants or grow an herb garden in your classroom.
- Open the windows and let fresh air in at least once a day.
- Take water breaks and encourage students to stay hydrated.
- Play calm, relaxing music throughout the day to help students focus.
- Boost moods with happy, exciting music during transition times.
- Have “Mean Clean Friday” every week where students clean out and wipe down their desks, chairs, small group tables, large manipulatives, etc.
- Give praise, praise, and more praise. And then some more.
- Validate students’ dreams and goals by posting them on bulletin boards, on the class website, and in the weekly or monthly newsletter.
- Keep pump bottles of hand sanitizer around the room in easy to reach places for students’ use.
- Talk about “gross behaviors” and “healthy choices” to promote healthier interactions.
- Get to know your students individually. When you know them, it is easier to quickly spot when they are having a bad day.
- Do team building activities frequently.
- Emphasize that the classroom is a safe, healthy environment for all students and no one has the right to take that away from anyone.
- Never “call out” a child in front of the class. If there is an issue, deal with it away from the other students.
- Make parents and families aware of your classroom rules, code of conduct, and expectations for behavior from the very first day of school.
- Let your students know that you adore them and think that they are the best group of children you have ever had. Remind them frequently throughout the day.
What are some of your favorite ways or best tips for creating a healthy classroom environment? Share with us below.