Catholic Education South Australia


Feeling Safe and Reaching Out - Years 7 and 8

Early adolescence is characterised by a shift in how we conceptualise and experience our identity. While still needing the safety and support of family, adolescence is a time when peer identity becomes increasingly important. During this time young people usually form friendship networks around shared interests and commonalities.

The experience of early adolescence, the middle years of schooling, has direct implications for creating and maintaining a supportive classroom environment. As young people transition back to school it is important to honour their developmental stage and nurture the desire to reconnect and make new connections. Below are the three characteristics that (CASEL) identifies as essential to a supportive classroom environment.  Under each characteristic is some suggested activities and links to resources.

1. Community Building

2. Belonging and Emotional Safety

Effective routines, procedures, and structures do not overly control students’ choice and voice, but create predictability so students know what to expect. These types of consistent, predictable routines help reduce stress and facilitate learning for all students.

3. Student-centred discipline