Calming Room (by Mrs. Fink)
Mental health needs in school are critically important because 1 in 5 children and youth have a diagnosable emotional, behavioral or mental health disorder and 1 in 10 young people have a mental health challenge that is severe enough to impair how they function at home, school or in the community. Stress, anxiety, and the trauma of a pandemic are acute issues that are affecting our teachers and students as this new school year begins. Although the academic impact of these issues is hard to measure, we know that overstressed and anxious minds are rarely primed to be ready to learn. With the help of a TLC Grant, which is sponsored by our Pacific Southwest District, I was able to create a sensory-sensitive space where students can come to decompress and relax so they may return to class ready to learn. I am blessed to have been given a larger office this year. This new space enabled me to create this calming room and the ability to help students regulate their emotions.
The calming room includes the following:
- A variety of comfortable furnishings with tactile fabrics and surfaces.
- Active seating that students can rock or sway in.
- Low lighting (use of lamps instead of overhead lights)
- A variety of toys and gadgets that students can fidget with and distract their anxious minds. Some examples are: fidget toys, stress balls, puzzles, coloring pages, play dough, and calming jars.
- Whiteboard tables, mobile whiteboards, personal lapboards, or other writable surfaces for drawing or doodling.
- Noise-canceling headphones.
- Self-help books with a Christian perspective and a variety of children’s books that center around emotions.
I pray this space will help our students regain focus and have a place where they can feel safe knowing that they are loved and cared for by all. Please, if you have a chance, come check it out!