This is the Design & Technology department in my daughter Georgina’s school and it is run by her father. In many ways, I credit the DT rooms all over the world for Georgina’s emotional strength, confidence and joy.
You see, this is the place that she could always come to. When she started nursery, she would say to her teacher, “I’m done here, thanks. Can I go to my Daddy’s office now?” and fortuitously for her, her teachers and schools had always allowed that. I think this is so important, in the light of recent comments by Head Teachers that many children are not ready to begin school. Yes, school can be traumatic for these tiny students.
In later years, when Georgina started having “friendship issues”, she would say to her father, “Daaad, can I come and have lunch at your office, because I have none friends?”
She would hang around here, arrange the pens and pencils when she was younger. And when she was older (as she is now, in her last year of school), she would sit quietly in the class and do her work.
In the big, bad world outside the security of her home, she had always had a safe space to grow at her own pace. The boundaries for emotional security stretch far and wide.
I realise many children are not in the same privileged position as Georgina and her siblings to have a loving parent and a safe space to come to within 100metres right up to 18 years of age. The safety blanket did not make them weak and dependent; it made them strong and confident.
Here are some suggestions on how to build “safe rooms” for your children:
- Create that space in the home. Make the home (or at least a room in the house) a place that they can feel good about themselves whenever they enter the space.
- Read them beautiful stories.
- Meet them with hugs.
- Tell them that they can call you anytime they feel threatened, scared or upset.
- Make time for them.
- Remind them frequently that you love them.
We practice that too!