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Help me give my students calming toolkits to help them regulate their emotions appropriately so that they may return to learning.
I am a school psychologist, so all of the students in the school are my students! My school is unique in that it is not a "neighborhood school". Most students ride a bus from other parts of town to attend our elementary. We are very close to an Air Force base, so we have a large number of military-connected students.
Since there are often few connections between the students outside of school, a strong family-like atmosphere has been created.
The students love to both cheer on and challenge each other, just like siblings. They are quick to open their arms to newcomers and bring them into the family. The Fort, as our school has been affectionately nicknamed, is truly one-of-a-kind!
Social and emotional learning is essential for students. It provides them with critical skills needed to be successful at school, in careers, and in life. These toolkits would be one piece of our social and emotional learning instruction. Calming kits will give my students tools to help regulate their emotions when they are having strong feelings. When students are experiencing strong feelings (angry, anxious, sad, etc.), their brains are unavailable for learning.
By utilizing these toolkits, students will be able to regulate their own strong feelings so that they may return to active learning.
My hope is to have one calming kit in each classroom, as well as each special (art, music, PE, library) and other supportive classrooms that the students visit regularly. By having access to the kits in the areas they frequent the most, students will be able to regulate their emotions while staying within the classroom setting rather than having to leave the classroom and miss out on instruction entirely.
I have selected visual and tactile items that can be helpful in calming a variety of strong feelings. Benefits of calming tools include giving the child ownership over their emotions, providing sensory input, increasing awareness of feelings and triggers, increasing flexibility, helping a child remain calm or de-escalate, reducing inappropriate behaviors, and helping develop independence.
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