The Importance of Felt Safety in Early Childhood Education

We all understand the importance of safety when raising a child. Parents and teachers alike go that extra mile to ensure that the children in their care are safe. We have locks on doors and windows, childproof our buildings, and are always looking for better ways to keep them from harm.

But safety goes beyond just the physical. The knowledge and certainty in their own safety is an important part of children’s social and emotional development. A child that feels safe will be more able to explore and experience the world around them, and more able to learn.

Felt Safety vs. Real Safety

The big difference here is between being safe and feeling like you’re safe. Think back to times when you’ve had to comfort your child when they’re scared, such as after a nightmare or when something startled them. Even though you know that everything around them was safe, at that moment they need your help to feel safe.

That’s the difference between real safety and felt safety. Real safety is, of course, a must, but children have a very real need to feel safe as well.

Felt Safety in an Educational Setting

Felt safety is especially important in an educational setting. A high-quality childcare provider will have taken all of the measures necessary to ensure the safety of the students in their care.

For more information on childcare safety, check out our Childcare Safety Checklist.

When looking for a childcare provider, make sure they also create a warm, friendly, nurturing environment where your child can feel safe. Without that, they are unable to relax and learn. Children who feel insecure or unsafe will be preoccupied with trying to maintain a semblance of control over their environment and be overly focused the adults in charge rather than trying new things or connecting with peers. They’re also unable to develop a healthy view of themselves and the world around them.

One of the most visible impacts of this is the child’s desire to go to school. Most children experience a normal desire to stay home or a tendency to avoid transition (especially early in the morning), but a strong dislike of school creates needless battles every day that puts extra strain on the parent-child relationship.

Parents and Teachers Working Together

In the end, a nurturing environment must be an intentional choice made by management and teachers. Childcare providers who make nurture a priority will create an atmosphere of warmth and stability and take each child’s unique needs seriously.

This is why it’s so important that parents work with their child’s teachers. Let them know what things help your child to feel safe. Communication goes a long way to ensure the best possible experience for every child.

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