My students need a safe corner with comfortable seating, low lighting, 2 Kindles and manipulatives to help them de-escalate and return to class ready to learn.
In my years of counseling urban students my motto has been "Change One Thing, Change Everything." If I can assist a volatile student to calm him/herself and return to class ready to learn, a change has been created that can have positive long term consequences both for that student and for society!
My 600 students live in an area of Philadelphia which has the highest crime rate in the city and one of the highest rates of poverty.
Many of our children have been traumatized by their environment and have not learned the skills to contain their impulses and calm themselves when angry, frustrated, or sad. In spite of this, they are wonderful, eager learners who hunger for knowledge. When the circumstances of their lives intrude into the school environment, they need a safe place outside of class to calm themselves so that they can return to their rooms ready to learn and interact positively with their teachers and peers.
Our school has an amazing, dedicated staff who give their all to our students, but our resources are very scant. Last spring, I started to create a "Calm Corner" in my office where students in crisis can de-escalate and then return to class with a positive attitude. More supplies are desperately needed to complete this refuge for our most vulnerable students
Last Spring I started the concept of a "Calm Corner" in the Counselor's office. It is presently furnished with 4 bean bags, a plush rug, and manipulatives such as rain sticks to help angry students de-escalate. The students look upon this area as an oasis when they are sad, angry, or upset. I would like to add a floor lamp with low lighting to replace the harsh fluorescent lighting presently in the area. I would also like to add a beanbag lounger and blankets where my younger students can relax and calm themselves. A small portable stereo would be very useful to play relaxing, meditative music. I would also like to add two Kindles so that the children can read to calm themselves or to engage in cooperative play.
When some students become frustrated beyond their capacity to handle, they can also become physically aggressive. For that reason, I'd also like to add some inflatable punching bags and several stress balls so that the children have a safe outlet for their feelings of anger.
My students have amazing potential to create lives of goodness and importance and to have a positive impact on society.
They cannot do this without the help of counseling resources to engage them in learning positive, pro-social behaviors. Once children have been empowered to bring their negative behaviors under control, they can concentrate their energies on academics and character-building!
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