Safety is the Foundation
In psychology, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is well-known and respected for its theory of how humans are motivated. Maslow puts needs such as air, water, food, shelter, and sleep at the foundation of the hierarchy. A no-brainer, really!
And I bet it won’t surprise you that the next foundational step is SAFETY. Once those first basic needs are met, humans want to feel personally, physically, and emotionally safe. Feeling safe then allows us to progress up the hierarchy to discover and embrace things like love, strength, confidence, a sense of belonging, and achievement.
I bring this up because safety has been on my mind a lot lately—and not because of the pandemic. At Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), safety education is something we work on everyday. We’ve certified over 2,000 dance educators and studio owners over the past four years. Interest in YPAD education and certification is growing rapidly from dance vendors as well.
ANY industry with services for children needs to have safety top-of-mind and the reason is twofold: First and foremost, meeting basic safety needs is an imperative. Then, with safety established, we can cultivate an environment where our students can be courageous; where they can be themselves; where they will be supported and prepared for the “real world” that awaits them in college or the workforce.
In short, if we want our kids to FEEL safe and achieve anything they put their minds to, we must OFFER them a safe environment in which to grow.
Fortunately, YPAD presents studio owners, teachers, and other dance professionals with a multifaceted approach to a variety of safety-related aspects of the dance industry. And it’s important to note that YPAD is designed to EDUCATE, not regulate. We want to empower professionals in the dance industry to take charge of their future success, and that future success starts with a safe foundation for our students—just like Maslow’s hierarchy reveals.
So, in what ways can you get proactive with YPAD training? Here’s the scope of our coursework, which is evidence-based and research-driven. The information is presented by our panel of trauma-informed experts, including doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, and dance professionals:
- Injury prevention and response
- Abuse awareness, prevention, and response
- Risk management and safety procedures
- Social media and media safety
- Developmentally appropriate artistry
- Body image, nutrition, and disordered eating
- Bullying and conflict resolution
What we’re striving to do at YPAD is show the science and research behind the importance of a safe environment. We want to open up meaningful conversations about what dance studios and dance events look like when they put student safety first. To me, what that looks like is freedom to do our best work—because the foundation of safety has been built, our students can flourish.
If you haven’t already done so, friends, I encourage you to join us for a YPAD training and see for yourself how this coursework can benefit you and the students you serve. You can start with a free online course or dive right in with certification. And it’s not too late to get in on our live event which takes place November 15-17 on Zoom! All of YPAD’s trainings can be done self-paced and online if you can’t attend live virtually.
Here’s one more encouragement I want to share for today: Even if you’re not quite ready to take part in a YPAD certification, remember that we’re here for you. Visit our FAQs or send us your questions—now is the time to join us in helping to make the WHOLE industry stronger for generations of dancers!