POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE
We love the term School Climate. Of course it comes with a wide range of possible interpretations. Everyone who is asked how the overall “climate” in his / her own school was, directly comes up with detailed observations (subjective for sure) about various pieces of the total School Climate “puzzle” in their school. We can all describe the dynamics between ourselves and our close friends and even between other students in their specific peer groups. We can tell how the “vibe” was in the hallways and schoolyard. We remember well how teachers treated students in general and vice versa, the impact a few specific teachers had on us and the way we felt the school was "ruled" by the administration.
When we describe our own School Climates we are all amateur psychologists; we have all witnessed first hand over many years the day-to-day dynamics in our school at an age our "perception buds" were wide open.
A School Climate is about what is going on for real in a school. Some of it can be found in the statistics, some is easily observable walking through the school, but a good part goes on “behind the backs” of the adults - in the hallway, schoolyard, on the busses, in the surrounding neighbourhood - and “behind the backs” of the students - in the teacher room and administration office.
School Climate is a concept that includes a wide range of psychological and sociological elements. There has been much research done about it. From scientific papers about the many aspects that are part of the overall dynamics within a school to web sites who “promote” a Positive School Climate (PSC), describing in detail various aspects of a PSC, from the physical learning environment to the quality of human interactions between teachers, students, administrators and supporting staff. In recent years the importance of the school - family - community triangle has been acknowledged as an important part of a PSC.
We won’t add our own ways to describe this overall school atmosphere. In fact, we embrace many of the thorough descriptions of a PSC by study groups and organizations who support schools or aim to improve education in general. Our mission is to put these visions and studies into practice.
A PSC is of course not a fixed condition with “only blue skies”. It is mostly a general concept indicating that the overall ambiance in a school is generally pulling students`school experience - on all levels - "upwards". There are many shades of grey of course, however many researchers observe that in general School Climates are deteriorating; the pull on many school dynamics is "downwards".
SAFE in SCHOOLS will help any school to move towards a PSC. When there is already a PSC in your school, we will give it a sustainable foundation; it needs to be reinforced regularly and passed on from one student generation to the next.
We see creating and sustaining a PSC as a form of art in which we creatively "juggle" our own skills with those of everyone else involved. We also see it as a team sport. We all need to play on the same side: administrators, teachers, supporting staff, the key students and gradually more and more students and parents and other members of the community.
However, we are not just artists / athletes who offer fancy playshops that excite students. We also see it as a science. Education is based on science, so it is logical to evaluate school dynamics scientifically. We are inspired by a various innovative and efficient science-based organizations. (*)
SAFE in SCHOOLS aims to motivate as many students as possible on a daily basis. The effects of our Re-creation playshops will ripple out to the classrooms, hallways, schoolyards and beyond. A PSC will establish itself when there are mostly Positive Peer Cultures in the classes and other programs offered in school.
*see footnotes at the end of Re-Creation and Positive Peer Culture.