Tuesday, November 17, 2009

HighScope Model: Safe Environment

The Community Bicycle Center uses the HighScope Educational Research Foundation model for quality youth programs (more info here) to help guide our program quality improvement. The model identifies five areas to pay attention to: psychological and emotional safety are promoted, the physical environment is safe and free of health hazards, emergency procedures and supplies are present, program space and furniture accommodate activities, and healthy food and drinks are provided.

While this may seem like an abstract concept, there are a few things to keep in mind as you work with kids in the shop or out on a ride. Our guiding children's behavior plan (a.k.a. behavior management plan) identifies six rights, one of which is safety.

Here are some tips for promote physical safety:
1. Ask and learn how to use tools safely and to pick the appropriate one -- accidents happen when you least expect them, so always be on the lookout!
2. Tell each other when you notice something unsafe. There are lots of sharp things in the shop, and keep an eye on the people around you.
3. Keep the work area clean and organized. Don't leave tools on the floor, and clean up messes quickly (especially the oily ones!)
4. If you're hungry or thirsty, grab a drink or a snack (just ask one of the staff).

For emotional safety:
1. Take a break when you are feeling frustrated or angry.
2. Use respectful language, and remind others when they forget to do so.
3. Recognize that everyone's situation is different, and so are their personalities.
4. Perhaps most importantly, make sure to communicate. It's the first step towards understanding.

What are some tips that you have found helpful for promoting a physically and emotionally safe environment in the shop or on bike rides?

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