Children With Anxiety

How does Tampa Day School’s environment make students with anxiety actually want to come to school?

The optimal environment for children with school anxiety.

Tampa Day School has a 40-year history of educating bright children who learn differently, including those with school anxiety. Our small class sizes, personal approach, and a safe, welcoming environment, children with anxiety disorder actually look forward to coming to school each day.

How Does a School Anxiety Disorder Affect a Child in School?

The most important “job” for children is to excel in school. This is how they achieve success, and therefore feel motivated and happy. It is therefore not hard to see how school would be a prime source of anxiety. School is a place with rules and deadlines and high expectations. When on Monday a teacher announces a math test for Friday, that should produce some anxiety, that builds until Friday. A child can decrease anxiety by studying for the test, and as she feels more and more prepared, the anxiety should dissipate. So a little bit of school anxiety is a good thing, because it causes children to get things done. But children with an anxiety disorder will feel overwhelmed when they are asked to do two things at once (“Read chapter 4 and write a report summarizing the chapter.”), when they are given open-ended tasks (“I want you to read in your history book every night, because you never know when you might have a pop quiz.”), or when they are not prepared (they left their geography book at home with the homework assignment stuck in it).

Why is Tampa Day School a Good Place for Children With an Anxiety Disorder?

Teachers at Tampa Day understand that anxiety is not the child’s problem, it is our problem. It is our job to make school a comfortable, fun place to be. It is our job to make sure that expectations are clear, but appropriate for each child. It is our job to help children manage their anxiety so that they learn how to channel that anxiety to get things done and feel a real sense of accomplishment.

Children with anxiety disorders often dread coming to school. They might cry or even get sick every Sunday night. The first step is to change that cycle, so that each child enjoys school and looks forward to coming to school. As a result, for a child with an anxiety disorder, expectations will be low in the beginning. As confidence returns, the expectations will gradually be increased until a full workload can be managed and enjoyed.

At Tampa Day School, we understand that each child has different needs. We will adapt the educational program for each child until an optimal educational environment is created for every child.

Learn more about anxiety on our Anxiety Fact Sheet.

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October, 2016

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Pat Sanders, TDS parent


Jennifer is graduating in a few weeks. Something that was hard to conceive 5 years ago. A big turning point in Jen’s academic and social life was when she enrolled at Tampa Day School…we credit your great guidance and your great teachers with putting Jen back on the right track.

David and Monica, Parents of a TDS Alumna

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