What does “mindful space” mean? Why should I have one in my classroom? What if I don’t have enough space? These were just a few of the questions I had when looking at how to create a mindful space in the classroom. What I realized is that students might need time to manage their feelings at school – I know that being in a group context can be overwhelming for me, so why would it be any different for my students. Processing those feelings is important, even as adults; 5-10 minutes (or even less) can do wonders for level of participation.
Despite what some students may think, a mindful space isn’t a space they can go to escape learning; it’s a space that allows them to check in with themselves and experience a break before returning to the group. I believe that it is very important to have a positive outlet for students who might need a break. This space should support self-regulation and encourage students to recognize, accept and understand their feelings.
Ultimately, we want students to gain independence by choosing strategies for themselves, and understanding what works for them in that space. Some of those strategies/items could include:
- stress balls
- glitter jars
- breathing spheres
- a mirror (to help identify emotions)
- emotional feelings sheets (to identify and record emotions)
- iPad + headphones with short videos on mindfulness/guided breathing/any kind of calming video
- sand timers
- weighted blankets
- blank paper, pens, pencils, crayons (to draw emotions, write a letter, or reflect on strategies used in the space)
- yoga cards with pictures (self-guided)
And the list goes on. Here are a few photos of my favourite spaces (brought to you by Pinterest🎉):
These mindful spaces don’t have to be anything fancy – it could even be a desk somewhere in your classroom – but I do believe that there should be a safe space for any student to go to calm themselves down if they need to. Of course you would go over expectations for this space with students at the beginning of the year (and throughout if needed). Despite possible difficulty in the beginning, having this space would be beneficial for everyone in the classroom.
How would you incorporate a mindful space into your room?
Until next time,