Creating a Safe Learning Environment for Children Who Learn Differently

When we create learning environments for missions education, we often forget to plan for children who learn differently. Many preparations for children who learn differently are easy to include in the classroom, but there may be some that you haven’t considered. Understand some adjustments that need to be made as new children begin to participate in your ministry.

Physical Adjustment

Make your learning space clutter free. Children with mobility issues have enough difficulty navigating space without additional barriers such as toys, chairs, or other obstacles. Make sure the tables and chairs are the correct height to accommodate children with physical handicaps.

Sensory Adjustment

Some children are negatively affected by loud noises and colors. Soothing, quiet music and low conversation tones help reduce sensory overload. Bright and busy classrooms often agitate children who learn differently. Include just the basic instructional tools for your learning space.

Supplies Adjustment

Children who learn differently often require special supplies. Hands that have trouble gripping might need thicker pencils and crayons and adaptive scissors—which are easy to find at school supply stores.

Educational Adjustment

Children who learn differently often look just like other children. They are able to socialize and interact well with peers, but they may have difficulty reading or writing. Make sure children with educational deficits feel comfortable in your class. Pair them up with a buddy to complete assignments and never call on them to read aloud unless they volunteer.

When a child who learns differently joins your group, you may need to enlist the help of another adult in order to effectively minister to all the children. Carefully watch for signs of bullying from other children. Use situations with children who learn differently to teach compassion, kindness, and the love of Jesus.

By Jennifer Smith

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