Are you looking to create a calm down corner in your classroom, to help students to focus and self-regulate so that they are ready to learn?
A calm down corner is a safe space within the classroom that students can use to relax, express themselves, and refocus if they become overwhelmed or emotional.
Many educators have found that calm down corners provide students with an outlet for managing their emotions in the classroom, rather than acting out or disrupting the learning environment.
Today, I would love to look at what goes into a creating a calm down corner and how it can benefit your students—to spark your ideas in putting together a customized calm down area that suits the needs of your students.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Calm Down Corner?
Imagine a safe place for students to go when they are feeling overwhelmed, agitated, or in “fight, flight, or flee” mode—so that they can breathe, take a break, and regulate their emotions without acting out or disrupting the classroom.
After the past few years of this long-term global pandemic, it’s more important than ever to teach children to self-regulate and manage their big emotions.
Research has shown that establishing calm down areas help promote social-emotional development in children by teaching them coping skills such as self-regulation, problem-solving skills, empathy, and communication skills.
Negative student behaviors decreased as a result of the implementation of the classroom calm down corner.Thompson, Clairissa (2021). The Impact of a Classroom Calm Down Corner in a Primary Classroom. NWCommons
Children need to know that it’s okay to take a brain break to get themselves back into balance and then they can rejoin the class lesson.
Understanding and monitoring their own emotions will help them gain the necessary life skills to become a productive adult in today’s busy, modern world. And we can start now by offering them a safe place in the classroom to get calm and organized!
What Should You Put in Your Calm Down Corner?
A calm down corner is not necessarily a one-size-fits all and instead can be customized to the needs of your students.
It can be the size of your choice, depending on your space, and include whatever materials you would like, depending on your available resources and budget. It could be set up in a corner, at a table, in a bin, or in a caddy, whatever suits you best.
The main idea is to provide calming tools that make your students feel safe, seen, and comfortable. Many calm down corners include yoga and mindfulness activities or printables—items proven to help students to turn inward and soothe their nervous systems.
Free Calm Classroom Posters
Bring the calming power of breath exercises to your classroom today!
Download these posters to share with your kids and as a little reminder for yourself to breathe!
10 ideas for your customized calm down corner
- Breathing Cards – Breathing exercises enable children to take a pause and calm their nervous system.
- Stuffed animals – Stuffed animals provide comfort and a feeling of safety .
- Coloring books/puzzles/games – Coloring books with positive messages, mandala printables, puzzles, and games are great ways to help students refocus their attention on something else while they de-stress.
- Stress balls – Stress balls, putty, squishes, or fidgets are perfect for relieving tension when feeling overwhelmed.
- Pillows/blankets – Pillows, weighted blankets, beanbag chairs, or soft rugs provide comfort and warmth when students need a moment to soothe themselves.
- Books – Having yoga or mindfulness books available for students allows them to take their minds off of whatever is causing them distress by reading about an interesting story or character.
- Yoga Poster – A yoga poster is handy for those children who need to move and stretch their bodies.
- Art supplies – Arts and crafts like coloring pencils, paper, glue sticks allow students to express themselves creatively without having to say anything at all!
- Writing supplies – Providing a variety of writing tools like pencils, paper, prompts, or visuals will allow children to express themselves and let me experiment with the written word.
- Sensory items – Some students might benefit from sensory items like kinetic sand, noise canceling headphones, bubblers, calming music, or puppets.
Creating a calm down corner in the classroom provides several benefits for both teachers and students alike. It gives children an outlet for their emotions while teaching valuable coping skills at the same time!