So how do we at Kids Creative make a space that welcomes everyone? It takes a lot of groundwork, but here are 2 key ways that we make our space safe.
1. Make the learning area as physically safe as possible. Physical safety is essential--without it, learning is not possible. While we can't control all factors that may make a space unsafe, we can minimize hazards immensely by removing anything that is unsafe before beginning our program.
- First, we explore our surroundings, move any objects that could pose a physical hazard and create physical barriers to prevent our students from accessing anything potentially dangerous.
- Next, we communicate to our participants what could be dangerous and explain what areas are safe. If necessary, we create rules that keep our kids safe. For example, "Always walk next to a pool, otherwise you could slip and hurt yourself" or "Stay on this side of the white line."
- Finally, we know that we can't stop all harmful things, so we communicate emergency plans to staff, parents and kids, practice fire and lockdown drills, train in first aid and CPR and prepare ourselves to recognize problems right away so that they don't get out of control.
- "Be kind and respectful to everyone". Seems simple, but it's key to say it out loud.
- "No fighting or fake fighting". This helps participants recognize before their actions become uncontrolled.
- "No teasing or fake teasing". Even if someone says that they were just kidding or joke teasing, we still think this is not allowed. It's up to person who feels like they are being teased to decide if they feel unsafe. The person who teased, whether they intended to or not, then knows to stop and apologize.
- "If someone is sitting out, you have to ask them if they want to play or join your activity. They can say no, but you have to ask." This is key to making people feel wanted--sometimes they are just waiting for an invitation to join.
- "If you're playing a game and someone wants to play, you have to say yes." They get to join when the time is right and have a great time. However, and this is very important, they can't change the game. Both people are responsible for making it fun.
So what does this mean for something as important as immigration policy? We believe that everyone is welcome here. We are responsible for creating a safe space for everyone and making them feel safe. It is our responsibility to invite them in, and our collective responsibility to build a community that is respectful for all.