Safety can take many forms – from physical and emotional to psychological. Your child’s perception of safety, or the lack thereof, can greatly affect how and what your child learns. Therefor it’s pivotal to create a safe and positive environment for learning at home, especially in a home-based learning setting.

According to a recent paper published by the American Institute for Research it starts by understanding what physical and emotional safety entails:

Physical safety—which includes preventing injury, protecting against violence from others or self-harm, and safeguarding against weapons and threats—is one of the most basic human needs. When someone does not feel safe, they will seek out ways to feel safe in their environment before they can attempt to meet any higher level of survival, like connecting with others or learning new skills.

Emotions trigger responses in our brain that affect how we feel and behave, and these emotions have a powerful effect on learning. For example, it is harder for us to learn when we are worried, angry, anxious, grieving, or humiliated because these emotions limit attention and concentration. When we feel emotionally safe—that is, when we feel calm, happy, and supported—our brains are better at taking in information, learning new things, and being productive.

It is also important to remember that children’s needs will be different based on their developmental age, gender, their strengths and needs, family expectations, and previous experiences with school. Your family’s culture and community norms will also influence your child’s needs. These differences will affect how children express themselves and how you respond to them. For example, younger children and children who have experienced trauma (for example abuse, divorce, or the loss of a loved one) may express anxiety by physically acting out or becoming more “clingy.” Adolescents, on the other hand, have great needs for respect, autonomy, and how they maintain their newly developing senses of their identity. As a result, they may react by working harder to protect their freedoms during this time of limitations, or by acting out with belligerence or withdrawal.

How do you proactively create the social and emotional conditions for learning?

  • Make sure that YOU are ready to provide the physical and emotional safety your child needs.
  • Seek help to prevent conflict or violence in your home.
  • Make sure your child has their own physical space to learn where they are safe from fear, humiliation, or high levels of stress. Too many distractions can add to our stress, especially when we are trying to learn something new. Try to set aside a specific space—either a separate room or in a shared room—for your child’s learning time and work. If you have multiple children in the home, this may mean alternating space and resources like computers or other devices, so having a plan can help to minimize conflict.
  • Accept your child for who they are and build on their strengths. Although all children will vary in their academic strengths and sense of who they are, it is essential that they develop a positive self-image. You play a critical role in helping them to develop that.
  • Establish predictable routines at home. Doing so can prevent emotions like stress and can help your child’s brain to work better because they’ll know what to expect. Involving your child in creating the routine or schedule can not only teach them about time management, but also will help them to feel a sense of control. When responding to emotions, behaviours, or challenges:
  • Make sure your child knows that they can express their feelings and share emotions with you.
  • Let your child know that it is OK to make mistakes, especially when they are trying to learn new things in new ways. (This applies to you, too!) It’s important to remember that mistakes are how we learn. If your child makes a mistake, it can be helpful to talk through what might have gone wrong and what they could do differently next time. Encourage and reward persistence over perfection. Avoid punishing failure
  • Listen, acknowledge, and affirm your child’s feelings. Help them identify what they or you can do to help them feel better.
  • Discuss what is outside of your control and identify ways to deal with frustration. You can help your child to understand what they can and cannot control while acknowledging how they feel.
  • Soothe children in ways that work for them. If you don’t know what works for them, have a conversation to learn more about what would work for both of you. Ask them about what helps them to calm down. If they don’t know, try different strategies together (like hugs, taking deep breaths, colouring a picture, or taking a walk) and talk about what was helpful.
  • Monitor your child’s time online, in developmentally appropriate ways. Whereas younger children may need more support from an adult – thus making it easier to check on them – older youth and teenagers may want more privacy.

What to look out for

While children may tell you how they feel in words, they may also show signs in other ways. Please note that these signs won’t necessarily mean there is a problem. Knowing what to look for can help you to decide if you need to explore this more deeply or seek additional support. These signs will be different based on age, culture, and your individual experience.

Here are a few examples: Primary school children may show new or more irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, school avoidance, poor concentration, and withdrawal from activities and friends. Adolescents may reveal they are having problems by new or increased sleeping and eating disturbances, becoming more irritable and getting into more conflicts, physical complaints (for example, having a stomach-ache or headaches), delinquent behaviour, and poor concentration.

If you notice any of these signs or other new behaviours, it will be important to respond in a supportive way. Make sure your child knows that you are there to help them and that you will help them in a way that works for them.

“At Wingu Academy we take the wellbeing of our students very seriously. Our Wellness Hub has trained professionals that can assist parents and learners with guidance on both academic and emotional wellness.  To us that is key, because our students learn from home. We always encourage our Wingu parents to put measures in place to ensure that students have a safe learning environment, and we assist wherever we can” says Ian Strydom, Managing Director of Wingu Academy.

Article content adapted from paper published by the American Institute for Research: https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/SAFETY_StratResrchFam-508_Rev06052020.pdf

Choosing a curriculum

Choosing the correct curriculum for a student is crucial as it shapes their educational experience, aligns with their learning style, and prepares them for future academic and career opportunities. The British International Curriculum emphasizes flexibility, critical thinking, and a global perspective, offering various pathways like the IGCSE and A-levels. In contrast, the South African CAPS (Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement) is more prescriptive, focusing on a standardized approach with a strong emphasis on local context and practical skills development.

Early Years

Designed for 5 to 6-year-olds

The British International Early Years program initiates an engaging educational path for learners. it establishes a robust foundation at the start of their academic careers, preparing them to advance to subsequent international phases.

Lower Primary

Designed for children aged 7 to 9

The British International Primary program initiates an engaging educational path for learners. it establishes a solid base at the start of their educational journey, setting the stage for their advancement into subsequent international phases.

Upper Primary

Designed for 10 to 12 year old's

The British International Upper Primary program initiates an engaging educational path for learners. it establishes a robust foundation for students at the intermediate stage of their education, preparing them for the subsequent international phase.

Lower Secondary

Designed for 13 to 15-year-olds

The British International Lower Secondary program initiates an engaging educational path for learners. it lays a solid groundwork for students in the senior phase of their education, preparing them for the subsequent iGCSE level.
 

iGCSE

Designed for 16 to 17-year-olds

The British International GCSE program propels learners forward on an engaging educational path. it lays a solid groundwork for students progressing to advanced international levels.

AS/A Levels

Designed for 18 to 19-year-olds

The British International AS level program propels learners forward on a dynamic educational path. it offers a concluding year (12th grade) before progressing to tertiary education. The British International A level program, an additional year (13th grade) of schooling, equips students with a competitive edge for entering demanding university programs.
 

Grade 10-12

Designed for students aged 16 to 19

The National Senior Certificate (CAPS) program serves as South Africa's curriculum for Grades 10 through 12. it offers the concluding three-year phase of secondary education prior to pursuing higher education.

Wingu Academy's Hybrid Schooling Option

At Wingu Academy, we provide diverse schooling options tailored to your needs. Our hybrid schooling option, available in Centurion (Gauteng) and the Southern Suburbs (Western Cape), combines the flexibility of online education with the stability of a traditional brick-and-mortar school.

Wingu Southern Suburbs Campus

24 Cornwall Street, Lakeside, Muizenberg