I am so thrilled to welcome Alex from Positive Future Youth! You are going to love this post – so many great tips for making your classroom a positive learning environment!!
The health and well-being of a student impacts on their ability to learn, stay focused during lessons, make friends, and be happy. As primary school teachers, we recognize this and put practices in place to help students learn essential social skills and develop a positive outlook. I believe that there are four core areas to overall positivity and happiness for children. Some children have these naturally, and others need to be explicitly taught. These areas include the following:
Talking in a positive way helps children begin to have a positive outlook; they start to look for and focus on positive things rather than negative areas. When they begin to talk positively, they start look for the positive in other people, too. Focusing on the positive helps students with social skills, as well, understanding that people like to hear nice things rather than sad things.
Writing is the next step after talking. Journaling about what you are grateful for or happy about can be a wonderful method to deflect children away from their worries. It’s a great classroom activity, too.
What do positive people do? Well, they’re usually outside a lot, they do fun activities with their friends, and they smile. They are always smiling because they understand that one way to be happy is to make others happy. And one way to do that is to smile.
This is the natural step after the other core areas become habits. However, it is also the hardest to teach. Thinking positively is taught by having conversations around children’s skills and strengths, rather than their weaknesses.
Practicing positivity in these four areas from a young age will encourage children to be naturally positive. The following are some games that I do with my class to increase their awareness of how they think, how they talk to themselves, and their overall happiness. The following activities will help guide the process and help form positive habits in children.
Draw a hopscotch outline, but instead of putting numbers in your boxes put the areas of a child’s life.
- The children throw a rock or a stick on one of the squares, and then hop to that spot.
- Once in the spot, they need to say two positive things about that area of their life.
- This can also be made seasonal by adding Christmas, Easter, or other holidays in the boxes.
- Most importantly, have fun!
Role playing positive and healthy friendships is a wonderful way for young people to see, feel, and be a good friend. Through role play kids can start to understand what a good friend is and what qualities a good friend needs to have. This results in a more positive friendship group. Click here for a role play freebie.
Warm and Fuzzies
Warm and fuzzies are a wonderful addition to any classroom or home. This can be a box, a jar, or a paper bag with someone’s name on it. Students can put cute little notes in it with great things about that person. (Teachers may want to monitor that everyone is getting one and the notes are positive). On a certain day of the week (I like Fridays), kids can open their “mail” and read all the wonderful things people see in them.
Side note: for a class, names could be drawn out of a hat.
Create Vision Boards
Alex is an Australian primary school teacher. She specializes in creating resources that improve self-esteem and confidence in young people. So many young people today struggle to cope with life; they have copious amounts of anxieties and worries that keep them up at night and can create other, more serious issues. Join her mission to improve the quality of life of young people at www.positivefutureyouth.com.au and download her free e-book, “Stay Positive,” that includes over 15 activities to help young people build confidence.