Help me give my students liquid tile mats, a kid's treadmill, rowing machine, trampoline and books for our safe haven room where our students can learn to constructively handle emotions and calm themselves.
My students are part of one of the most innovative preschool programs in the country. We are in an urban, public school where over 80% of our students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. Many of the students I work directly with are in foster care, live in single parent households, have parents with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, and the list goes on. What makes our preschool program unique is the parent component. Parents are required to also commit to monthly home or in school visits with Parents As Teachers, and to have their child at school and on time (unless they are sick).
The home-school connection does not stop there!
I offer families optional opportunities to connect with other families in their child’s class, learn about Conscious Discipline, and make a true connection to our school. For the last 4 years 70% of our families have attended these optional meetings! Additionally my child abuse and neglect hotline calls decreased from once a week to once a month after we initiated these meetings with parents. From a parent survey, “my child has better control over his emotional needs and my child helps me to control my emotions too."
This is our young students' first school experience. Many are learning to interact with peers for the first time and for some this can be a challenge. When students emotions overwhelm them, some need a safe place to go and calm their bodies.
We have designated a Safe Haven room for our students who need a place to calm down and communicate their feelings without the fear of hurting others or themselves.
We know that when students are in their survival state of their brain and are struggling to communicate their feelings they crave gross motor activity. We would like to offer structured activities like a trampoline, rowing machine, and self-propelled treadmill so that students can fulfill this need. Additionally, some students want to retreat and hide when they are in their survival state and thrive on wrapping themselves in a sensory sock or blanket.
Every child is unique, and we want to provide a safe space for them to calm down and work through their emotions, teach self regulation skills and regain their composure so they can get back to learning in the classroom.
To this end we would also like to have available the liquid tile mats and touch boards to stimulate and calm through visual and touch senses. The books will enable me to sit with the calm student and read, providing touch comfort and allowing them to think through their feeling and realize they are not alone in their feelings.
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