Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Classroom Safe Place

In January, Room 201 opened up a brand new center called their classroom safe place. It is proving to be a big hit among the students!

Preschool is a big year for social emotional learning. Many children are coming to school for the first time and may be experiencing emotions that they have never felt before. That is why it was so important to create a spot in the classroom that is specifically geared toward supporting this area of development. The cube is intended to give students alone time when they are feeling overwhelmed with big emotions.

The expectations of our safe place for students:
- You must ask a teacher before you go into the cube
- Safe place toys/books are for safe place only

The expectations of our safe place for teachers:
- Children are never sent to safe place when struggling with regulating emotions, rather they are given always the choice (i.e. "You seem very upset right now, would you like to take a break at safe place?)
- Encourage the children to reserve the safe place for friends that are feeling sad/mad/angry. This helps promote empathy in the classroom.

Our classroom safe place is a wooden cube with round cutouts on 3 of the 4 sides. This allows children to crawl in and out of the cube. The cube also has a cozy blue mat that the children can sit on. Once in the cube, the student has the option to use items from our calming kit (fidget toys, stuffed animals, etc.) or read/listen to a book. We also have photos inside of the cube that children can observe. We currently have a photo that lists different emotions alongside their facial expressions and a photo of Jesus; our ultimate source of peace and comfort.

Our classroom safe place helps students self-regulate by having the ability to "take a break" when needed. It takes a high level of emotional intelligence to be able to notice that your body needs a break. It is definitely a skill that will follow them into adulthood!

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