Protective Factors

Teacher reading to the student

Protective factors are strengths and supports that allow children to succeed despite many risk factors (e.g. being in poverty or having parents with substance abuse problems). Three key factors offered by schools that protect young children and promote their resilience are 1) caring relationships, 2) high expectations and academic standards, and 3) opportunities for participation and contribution. 

For children aged 5-12 years, the school's role in supporting protective factors in children cannot be understated. Through daily contact, schools help shape children's beliefs in their own abilities to achieve, and can help children develop and strengthen protective factors, which promote their resilience when exposed to adverse events, and even may prevent problems from occurring in the future.


Featured Resources

Logo of the Children's Bureau

Lists a number of risk and protective factors that have been identified in relation to child abuse and neglect. Suggests specific actions that school personnel can take to promote protective factors and build resilience in children and families.

ASCD logo

Addresses the role of the family and the school in promoting student engagement, essential characteristics of schools that motivate student learning, promising practices that foster student motivation, and the potential unintended consequences of high-stakes testing for student engagement.

Bolstering Resilience in Students: Teachers as Protective Factors report cover

Provides an overview of research in the area of student resilience, particularly teachers' role in creating an environment where students can develop the ability to overcome challenges. Reviews key protective factors and seven strategies teachers can employ in creating environments that foster resilience in students.