How We Create Safe Spaces
“I heard this quote: ‘When you draw a portrait, you draw yourself.’ After I saw that, I saw that there is a little bit of my characteristics in everything I do.” (High School student in Comics and the World)
“We should say nice things to each other and listen to each other.” (K-2nd grade student in All About Animals)
As ARTS students navigate the ups and downs of learning from home, we’ve taken this time to reflect on their needs as humans, and re-design how we care for them when they participate in our classes through a “Community of Care.” But it seems that, every time we establish something that we think will work, the target moves again. Instead of pushing ahead, we’ve taken a step back to gently reassess how we create this Community of Care from the inside out.
One of the discoveries we’ve made is that having a genuinely caring network is more meaningful when care is expressed in all areas of an organization. While this is not new information, the question is how we implement a Community of Care within ARTS, during remote learning. We started by revisiting how we care for each other as a team. We’ve been training on the PEAR clover method, which stands for Partnership in Education and Resilience.
We’ve also revisited who cares for students in our classrooms. At the moment we have a wonderful team of college interns from various programs including psychology, design, visual art and political science creating a network of support, assisting teaching artists in their classes. We’ve worked on establishing easier ways to communicate, both synchronously and asynchronously, to ensure our team feels supported, and can pass that support onto our students.
What is beginning to form is a window, a path of communication across the organization, from the student level to the leadership level, that inspires warmth and gratitude. A simplicity in a once fragile structure, in a world that is beginning to take shape, yet continues to fluctuate. As we continue to blend the sense of “community” with “care” we look forward to continuing to see the evolution of this internal network, as we continue to tie it into the culture of the community we serve.