Creating a mindful space in your classroom

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)
  • books
  • 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🎉):

the result of my Lokoff award grant, the Peace Corner - Thoughtful Spot, for kids who just need to take a break, think, calm down, focus, breathe, or just be for a bit. the spot is for encouraging mindfulness and resilience in the children.

Fun with Fidgets - Inspire Me ASAP

Classroom safe space calm down corner

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,

S.

2 Replies to “Creating a mindful space in your classroom”

  1. This is really cool. I notice that my classroom doesn’t really have a space for this like the photos you put up show.
    One thing I did with my K’s last year was bringing them in after lunch when they were totally riled up, and noticing their crazy energy, I got them to sit in a big circle on the carpet. I sat down on the floor with them , too. I said that sometimes we need to take a moment to really calm ourselves down before we can do our best work. I went to a mindfulness workshop last year that some post bac’s put on, and she guided us through Tapping.
    So i tried it with my kids. Tapping is essentially tapping gently with your finger or fist on different points of your face and arms/hands/wrist. I was surprised that one student even knew what I was doing and had done it before.
    it felt a little silly at first, but once we all started doing the tapping, the energy did start shifting!
    Tapping can be used in higher grades too of course, to manage stressful situations (like tests or assignments).
    my auntie actually uses tapping for sore muscles! haha
    heres a video that could be helpful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0NUNNhosPU

  2. These are awesome spaces! I do think having a mindful/safe space in the classroom is really beneficial. In my classroom last year we had a regular carpeted area with activities/fidgets kids could use, but we also had “comfy chairs” that were foldable so the kids could unfold them and fold them up when it was appropriate. I think when I have my own classroom I will have a dedicated spot that will always be set up for students to go to, but if a class is too crowded already, then foldable comfy/cool chairs could definitely be an option too!

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