Last year we
had a new position at GRE – a fulltime SEL teacher was hired to help support
our students, teachers, and families with Social Emotional learning. To help support
self-regulation, we created the Zen Den, a room as a place for all
students to go to when they needed time to self-regulate. The room was used by some students as a 'soft
start' location every day, others on a scheduled daily basis, and many for an
as needed basis. Students checked into
the Zen Den using the Zones of Regulation language, practiced a
breathing strategy, and then engaged in a self-regulating activity (colouring,
lego building, cup stacking, chilling in a tent, reading, etc), before reversing
the pattern and returning to instruction.
The purpose of the room was to help students recognize what they were
feeling, provide guidance in helping them practice strategies to self-regulate,
and then have them reflect on the effectiveness of the strategy, and then
assess if they were ready to go back to class and learning.