How to Create a Caring Classroom Environment

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    • 1). Create cooperative learning teams. Seat children in groups where they can aid and assist each other with learning. Group stronger students with weaker students. At the beginning of the year, educate the students on the purpose of the groups. Teach them that they are there to help one another succeed, and show them how to support everyone on the team. This makes children responsible not only for their own success, but for the success of the group as a whole. Group members can be rotated if they have difficulty working together or if you see a need for a particular student's strengths in another group.

    • 2). Have students get to know one another. This will foster a sense of community and help children have a sense of belonging. Have students interview one another and "present" each other to the rest of the class. A wonderful game to help students get to know one another is "Two Truths and a Lie." Have each child tell the class three things about themselves. Two of them must be true and one must be a lie. The rest of the class must try to figure out which is the lie and which ones are true. Another great way to build community among children is through team building activities. Pair the children up and have them take a "Trust Walk." One child is blindfolded while another child walks with him or her around the room, making sure the blindfolded student doesn't bump into any objects. These activities not only provide a way for the children to get to know each other, they teach the students to care for and trust one another.

    • 3). Do a sharing activity. It is vital that children know the importance of sharing. If the class is truly to become a family, they must be able to share with one another. Have children bring snacks to share with the class. Make sure children divide the snack equally so that each child gets the same amount. This may be done as a class party or as a quick break during recess or lunch.

    • 4). Host a class cleanup day. It is necessary for students to not only care for one another, but they must also learn to care for their classroom environment. Have the children work together to clean up the classroom. Assign tasks like sweeping the floor, taking work down from the bulletin board, wiping down the desks and organizing the classroom library. Have children work in teams to complete the tasks. When they are finished, have a class discussion about how it felt to work together to get the job done. Reward the class for good work. Rewards can be things like extra recess time, less homework or a class party.

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