Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

First Advisor

Jerusha Beckerman


This paper asks us to reimagine education and our classrooms as safe spaces for children. Children spend at least 1,000 hours a year in schools. They should spend those hours feeling like they have the freedom to dream, imagine, grow, take risks, and make mistakes. Furthermore, everyone deserves to be in a space that welcomes, accepts, and celebrates who they are. This means recognizing who they were, who they are, and who they can become. Children’s complex identities and humanity must be recognized in schools to come to know each child fully. When we lead with love, respect, and empathy, we create an environment with those as driving forces for learning and living together. By ensuring that education and our classrooms are safe spaces, children have the freedom to grow into their best selves, the teacher’s ultimate goal.