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Tools for Educators to Create Safe Healing Learning Environments

Crisis and conflict have direct and profound effects on children’s physical safety, well-being and ability to learn. Neuroscience has shown that children who experience the types of adversity common in crisis settings can have a physiological “toxic stress” response that inhibits their brain development, impacting their physical and mental health, cognition, behavior and relationships.

But this can be reversed. Children are remarkably resilient. When provided with the right support, such as safe, quality educational opportunities, the negative effects of hardship and stress are mitigated and children can heal, grow, learn and thrive.

The IRC’s Healing Classrooms—built on 30 years of education in emergencies experience and a decade of research and field testing—offer children a safe, predicable place to learn and cope with the consequences of conflict. Unlike many education programs that focus solely on teaching academics, Healing Classrooms builds children’s social-emotional skills as well as their capacities in reading, math and other traditional subjects. This approach is based on research that shows social-emotional learning programs improve students’ life skills, behavior and academic performance.

To help teachers, school personnel and communities create Healing Classrooms, the IRC:

  • Supports and trains teachers to establish safe, predictable and nurturing environments;
  • Creates and provides teaching and learning materials to build students’ academic and social-emotional skills; and
  • Connects parents and caregivers with schools

More information on IRC Education programs in Europe

Education Resources: