Tools to Create a Calm Classroom
With the rates of anxiety increasing and appearing at younger and younger ages, the importance of creating a calm environment for our students is becoming more and more important. There are a variety of resources out there that can support teachers in their efforts to create a calm classroom.
One of the first thing to do is to start to educate your students on what stress is as well as what calm feels like. Many students need to be taught what calm feels like, and be able to notice the difference between a calm state and as stressed state. The following are a list of resources that you can use to teach stress awareness and use for self-calming strategies.
Tools for Teaching Stress Awareness
- Kids Have Stress Too – Psychology Foundation of Canada – Resources for all grades, activities range from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. Free downloadable manuals and toolkits (except for the grades 9-12 version).
- Be Kind to Yourself and Others – Mental Health Kit from AHS – Free downloadable resource for elementary (click here) and junior high (click here) that have lessons on teaching stress awareness and self-calming strategies. You can also borrow the Moving and Choosing Mental Health kit here.
- MindUp Curriculum – Available for purchase from Indigo and Scholastic. The program helps improve student focus, classroom communication and creates classroom harmony through a mindful classroom.
Tools for Self-Calming Strategies
- Mindful Breathing & The Power of Breathing – How to breathe mindfully
- Safe Place Breathing Icons – to use in a safe place in your classroom, this poster can help students self-regulate using breathing techniques.
- Stress Lessons Videos – from the Psychology Foundation of Canada, videos to teach self-regulation techniques to students
- Zen Me – Mindfulness Activity Cards, borrow them from the Moving and Choosing lending library or buy them from the Be Fit for Life Centre.
- Mindmasters Program – Audio Activities for Young Students
- Relaxation Techniques for Older Students from Anxiety BC
Start small with little changes in your classroom, like naming emotions and helping kids to understand what their stressed state and their calmed state feel like. Provide lots of options to students to support them in self-regulation. Once the students understand that they have the tools to shift their mood, they will start to recognize it in themselves and take advantage of the self-calming strategies you’ve taught them.
Desirea Agar is a Health Promotion Facilitator with the School Health and Wellness Promotion team at AHS. She can be reached at email@example.com