Teaching the use of a calming space

  • Designate a spot in your classroom for the calming space
    • Should be free of distractions.
    • Within sight of the teachers.
    • Provides some privacy for the student.
  • Guidelines
    • Should NEVER be used as a punishment or consequence.
    • The message should be that the calming space is a positive place to go to help students become regulated.
    • Teachers can invite or suggest students to use space
      • I see you are (upset, frustrated, too excited, etc.) why don’t you go to the calming space to take a break.
      • I see your body is (fidgety, can’t sit still, dysregulated) why don’t you go to the calming space to help regulate your body.
    • Students can ask to use the space when they feel dysregulated
    • Teachers can model how to use the space if they are feeling frustrated or dysregulated.
  • Teaching
    • Explain to students reasons that they may want/need to take a break
      • They may recognize that they feel anxious, nervous, frustrated, angry, overly excited, etc.
      • Teacher may recognize they are anxious, nervous, frustrated, angry, overly excited, etc. (explain that this is not a punishment and that you are trying to help them)
    • Define this as being dysregulated
    • Define regulation and explain that this is the goal of a calming space.
    • Explain to students that they can communicate to you that they need to use the space or you may suggest they use the space.  This can be done:
      • Verbally
      • With visual Cue
    • Show students where the calming space is in your room
    • Show students where the visual tool to help them calm down will be
      • Practice the process with the class
      • It is important for them to recognize that they need to take slow deep breaths
      • Have them identify how they feel after following the visual tool
      • Point out that if they don’t feel calm after going through the process they should go through it again. If they still don’t feel calm they should signal the teacher that they need help but continue looping through the process until the teacher gets there.
    • Explain to students that once they are regulated they should return to class.
      • They should not be in the calming space for an extended amount of time.
      • The intention is to help their body feel regulated so that they can rejoin the class.  

Example of Break Visual for Calming Space

Example of Break Cards

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