My students are my super heroes! They are students with disabilities ages 3-5. These amazing "Littles" work hard every day to overcome a diversity of challenges. Students in my Early Childhood Special Education classroom have a variety of disabilities that affect their social, fine motor, gross motor, communication, functional, cognitive, and/or adaptive skills. Yet, my focus is not on their disabilities but their abilities and their accessibility to our Title I school and their community. While they are little, they are mighty, and it is a joy to teach them and watch them grow and strive to be their best.
Sometimes called the peace corner or cozy corner, a calm corner is essentially a secluded area in the classroom exclusively used for calming down. Eventually, every child will encounter a time when they experience overwhelming emotions. Without self-regulation or a safe place to escape, these emotions can spiral.
Providing a “calm down” corner in the classroom gives children the responsibility of self-regulating their own emotions in a peaceful and safe place.
Teaching children how to keep themselves in control in emotionally charged situations will help them enormously throughout their schooling and lives. When children feel great frustration, anger, sadness or anxiety, they become confused and may be unsure how to control their emotions. This also provides opportunities for diffusing a negative emotion or situation before it escalates. It is absolutely never a punishment. The goal is that the students learn to use the corner regularly and independently as a place for self-regulation when they feel they need to. This practice leads to fewer outbursts and behavioral disruptions.
My students will need comfy seating and sensory calming objects for their “calm down corner”. The items I selected will be used to create a peaceful safe place for students to regain control over their own emotions. The bean bag chair will provide a soft place to sit while selecting a sensory object such as the glitter wands, fidget maze, and stretch dinosaurs to help to refocus their energy. Sand timers will provide students with a visual way to select the appropriate amount of time to calm and return to activities with their friends. The Best Behavior board books will provide students with pictures to model good behavior. While the weighted snake puppet and turtle will be used for students who need deeper pressure to self-regulate.
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