Our students can experience lots of big feelings throughout the day, and often times then may have a hard time regulating those emotions. This is where we come in and teach them self-regulation and calming strategies. I have 4 ideas for a calm down center that can work in your classroom! I also have a free calm down center checklist available HERE!
#1: Use Furniture to Make a Defined Space
To make a safe space for all students, I use furniture to block off our calm down center. I do this for a few reasons. First, I want to give the student that is dysregulated and in need of the calm down center privacy. Second, if the student is engaging in unsafe behavior, I want to have space and barriers between them and other students. And lastly, I like to make in essentially removed from the rest of the classroom to give the student in need space to regulate their emotions so they can rejoin the class.
#2: Use Gym Mats
When creating your calm down center, ask your building admin if there are any available gym mats you can have for your classroom. I always use gym mats on the floor and walls in my calm down center in the classroom. It creates a safe space for students when they are dysregulated. You can also add some beanbags or other comfy elements. I like to use things small and light enough for me to remove easily if needed.
#3: Prepare a Staff Kit
Prepare a staff kit of anything a staff member may need while assisting a student that is dysregulated. Things like timers, counters, visuals, data sheets, pens, etc. are great to have easy access to while managing challenging behaviors. I also keep a folder of behavior and safety plans here so they are readily available when needed in the calm down center.
#4: Have the Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit Available
Last but not least, grab the Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit and have it prepped to assist your students in regulating their emotions. The toolkit has:
- 45 Request Card Visuals
- 45 Labels
- “I Want __” Choice Board
- “My Choice Board” (field of 4)
- “______’s Choice Board” (field of 4)
- Sensory Choice Board (field of 8)
- Sensory Rules Sign
- Sensory Steps List
- Sensory Steps Checklist
Everything you need to set up your calm down center for success is included in the Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit!
Having a calm down center in special education classrooms is essential! Grab the Calm Down Center Checklist for FREE to get started! For more tips on how to use the Sensory Self-Regulation Toolkit, check out Alyssa’s blog post! What do you have in your calm down center? Let me know in the comments!