Calming corners are more than just adding a cute aesthetic to your classroom, they are an effective self-regulation strategy.

What is a Calming Corner?

A calming corner is a designated safe space in your office or the classroom, equipped with tools that kids can grab when they experience big feelings. Remember, it's not a timeout spot. It is instead a toolkit for children to be able to manage their emotions. 

Why Create a Calming Corner?

There are several benefits to calming corners including happier teachers, less burdened counselors, and more regulated students!

Calming Corner Benefits for Teachers

If you’re a teacher reading this then you are going to love having a calming corner in your classroom. It may take a bit of instructing your students on how to use the calming corner, but once it is up and running it can be such a beneficial behavior management tool! Ideally, a disregulated student will realize they need a break and head to the calming corner instead disrupting the class. Once calmed down they will return to their desk. This is clearly the ideal and a more realistic version may look like you as the teacher noticing the student start to melt down and directing them to the space. You may have to direct them on when to leave the space and return to the class as well. Not only is the calming corner helping the student in need, but it’s not disrupting the learning for the rest of the class. It also give you a dedicated space with materials to help students so you don’t have to improvise on the fly.

Calming Corner Benefits for School Counselors

If you are a school counselor reading this, you too are going to love school wide calming corners! So often, teachers send a student to us to calm down. (You know, the ol’ magic wand!) While, as counselors, we love to help students this approach is a bit problematic. It’s better to keep the student in the classroom. It’s better for them to regulate and stay in the classroom rather than always leave. Teachers oftentimes feel frustrated because the students who are sent out for disruption appear to be “rewarded” by coming to the caounsleor’s office. Setting up a calming corner solves this problem. That being said, the reality is that you are still going to be sent students who are disregualted so installing a calming corner in your office is essential as well.

Calming Corner Benefits for Students

This is who it is all about! The reason we do anything is for student success. A calming corner is a great way to help students self-regulate and get ready to learn. We cannot prevent all behaviors from occuring but we can helps students better manage them by installing calming corners on campus.

What do you need to have in a calming corner?

  • Flexible Seating: A nice rug, sequin pillows, and some bean bags are ideal, but you can make do with what you have. The main thing is that you want to distinguish the area from the rest of the classroom so it is clear where it is and what it is intended for.

  • Calm-down toolbox: A "toolbox" is a great place to keep sensory items, fidgets, glitter bottles, etc. It can be as simple as a plastic tub. Basically you want the contents to be tactile resources to help students calm down.

  • Other items in a calming corner could include noise-canceling headphones, calm down coloring sheets, or behavior reflection think sheets.

Read this post to see more ideas of what to include in your calm down corner and when and how it should be used.

Establishing a School-Wide Approach to Calming Corners

If you have a calming corner in your counseling office that’s a great start but it’s even better if you can get the whole school on board! Lead an inservice day to talk about the benefits of calming corners and how they help students. (You can reference the benefits mentioned above in this post!) You can even do a “build your own toolkit” workshop. Provide teachers with posters, fidgets, and any other materials they may need to be successful. Check out this post for more tips on how to implement a school wide approach to self-regulation.

Countering Pushback Regarding Calming Corners

The number one push-back I hear from teachers is that the calm-down corner will be a distraction and that students will take advantage of it to get out of doing work. This is a valid concern and it may be first! I find that calm-down corners lose their novelty after a while and most kids are compassionate toward their classmates. If they see a fellow student having a hard time, they know that he needs to use the calm-down corner and that it is not a play area. You can start by having a small group of teachers test it out in their classrooms to get feedback before implementing it school-wide.

I hope you now feel empowered to create a calming corner at your school!

Do you use a calming corner? Share a picture with me on IG @brightfuturescounseling. I can’t wait to see what yours looks like!


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