One of the best decisions I ever made in my classroom was to create a calm-down center for my primary students. It is such a beneficial tool for my students and me. It is a small area in my classroom where one student can visit at a time. I have laid out two rectangles of a textured bathroom carpet, along with some sensory activities. It provides my students with a safe and quiet space to take a break, stretch out, and de-escalate when they feel overwhelmed.
How calm-down centers help the classroom
The main reason I love my calm-down center is that it helps prevent and manage behavioral issues. If I see a student becoming upset or frustrated I ask them to go to the calm-down center. Once students understand it’s purpose, they ask to go there before they become upset. This prevents many students from acting out, or disrupting the classroom learning environment. The calm-down center provides my students with a designated space to process their emotions, and helps them learn how to self-regulate.
Our calm-down center is also a valuable resource for my students who have special needs or those dealing with trauma. Any student who is having difficulty coping with the classroom demands has a quiet and secluded space to take a break.
How do you set up a calm-down center?
When creating a calm-down center in your classroom, it’s important to remember that it should be a comfortable space for your students. I try to include quiet and calming activities that are engaging for my young students. I like to keep some magnatiles there, along with a k-nex kit. I also have several sensory tubes. Students also enjoy coloring sheets and crayons. I have two textured bathroom rugs which I keep there as well. Students who are tired, can also stretch out there to relax and decompress. I also have a poster of a young child breathing slowly and calming down for students to model. Depending on the age of your students your activities will change. What is important is that students have a space to manage their emotions.
When I introduce the calm-down center at the beginning of the year I set clear guidelines for it’s use. Only one student is allowed in the calm-down center at a time. Once I see that students have calmed down, I ask them to rejoin the class activities. I don’t allow it to become a space for students to remain for extended periods of time.
Having a calm-down center in your classroom can be a valuable tool in helping your students manage their emotions and behavior and create a more positive learning environment for everyone.
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