Build a Calm Corner
At most elementary schools, we support social/ emotional skills through a variety of lessons and support that are developmentally appropriate. We focus on skills that promote kindness, empathy and friendship. Research has shown that a focus on positive behavior and social/emotional support can positively impact the success of our students. We know that at times students can become overwhelmed with their emotions and become angry. This is called “flipping their lid” and there is an effect on their brain that temporarily makes it difficult for children to think rationally. This impacts the choices that they make in a moment of frustration, anxiety or aggression.
One of the strategies of helping a child in an escalated state is a calming break. Students will have access to the “Calm Corner Toolkit” at school to de-escalate themselves when in a heightened state. This will allow them to calm down and rationally think about their behavior in a problem-solving space.
A calming break is a structured break time that is taught before use. This is designed as a tool, not a toy that can be used at home as well as school. It is important that this tool is taught before a child has reached a heightened state. Clear, taught expectations around this tool will yield the most benefits. This tool can be used at home, as well as our implementation at school.
How to use the Calm Corner Toolkit:
The Calm Corner Toolkit has scientifically backed items that allow a child’s “lid” to fall back into place and rationalize the emotions of the moment. If you have more questions about creating a Calm Corner Toolkit at home please reach out to us at McDonoughh@issaquah.wednet.edu.
Calm Corner Tools
All Calm Corner Tools should be taught previous to the student using the Calm Corner. Tools in the Calm Corner may look like toys, but it is important student recognize them as, "tools, not toys". That phrase should be repeated when teaching expectations for the Calm Corner. It is important to post the expectations as well as teach them.
Calming Count Box
The Calming Count Box is great to keep in the Calm Corner or in a special place for a time of need. Counting is a mindful strategy that can be calming for some students. This calming strategy is a kinesthetic strategy that engages the brain in a mindful activity, which can reduce stress in the student. Focusing the mind and body together can help the student regulate their emotions.
Calm Down Cubes
This tool can be used in the Calm Corner of your classroom. Students can pull out the cubes to choose the best way to cool down. You can gain buy in for the Calm Corner if you build this tool together at the beginning of the year. Ask students for suggestions of cool down strategies that work best for them. If you are looking for addition suggestions, please consider some from below.
• Positive self talk • Ask for help • Count to ten • Write it down
• Deep breathe • Journal • Squeeze stress ball • Draw & Color
Click here to purchase Calm Down Cubes!
Calming Body Movements
This kinesthetic strategy combines movement, affirmations and positive thoughts. This activity engages the mind and body into a positive space that can reduce stress, anxiety and boost positive moods. This strategy can be used as a whole class brain break or individually.
Infusing body movements into calming and mindful practice can increase the effectiveness of the calming time. As long as it's not distracting, students can use these "animal movements" as a calming strategy at the Calm Corner. These movements can also be used as a Brain Break for the entire class.
Click here for a printable poster!