This week as i have been going to the different schools i work in i have been very aware of how it feels in each school and within the classes that i visit to observe the children. Some of the staff have spent a lot of time before the children came back to school creating a welcoming and inviting classroom.
Some classes have made a quiet place within the room for children to have time away from the rest of the class if they choose to and are encouraging children to use it if they wish to. This is NOT a place for time out or punishment, it is a place for peace and quiet. It is small, comfortable with cushions,a blanket and beanbags and some books and soft toys. This space is particularly helpful for children who have experienced trauma or chaos outside of school to support them with trying to manage the return to school and new relationships with school staff.
I have observed children who often find the first half term back at school very difficult using these spaces this week and they have seemed calmer and more settled. The more we can help children to feel safe and secure at school, with the physical as well as the emotional environment, the more we help to reduce stress and anxiety increase their ability to engage with their learning.
Give it a go in your classroom this week!