The Importance Of Quiet Spaces At School
We all have moments when the day can feel overwhelming, and know one of the best strategies is to remove ourselves from the situation, find a quiet space and regroup. But what if a student in a classroom is having one of those moments? What can they do?
In Courtney Ross’s classroom at Madison-Carver Academy – and, indeed, in most Cornerstone classrooms – there’s a spot dubbed the Calming Corner. In this area, set apart from the rest of the room, students may step away for a short time of quiet reflection. Ms. Ross has set up a comfortable chair, soft lighting, and reminders of our Character Words so her students who need time to reflect have a safe, comfortable space to do so.
Ms. Ross says, “I tell my students that my classroom is a safe space, and I use the Calming Corner to reinforce that idea. They know it’s permissible to take some time away from class when they need to. And, when our lecture is over, any student can take advantage of the spot. Even when we are feeling fine, it can be nice to sit alone comfortably to get work done.”
“I’ve also provided the Iceberg Report in the space,” she added. “There are times I’m seeing just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ regarding how a student is feeling and what may be the cause. The Iceberg Report allows them to share with me quietly and privately about what they are experiencing, so I can provide additional support they might need.”
Teachers report that spaces like this empower students to take charge of their feelings, and often allow students to calm themselves before reacting in a negative manner. Education blogger April Zajko writes, “These quiet and private spaces are not used as a punishment, and staff don’t send children there as time out. Rather these spaces are seen as an oasis that children learn to enjoy on their own…These spaces help empower children to know that when they feel like they need to take time to themselves, they can.”
Self-reflection and efforts to encourage our students and team to practice becoming more centered souls exemplifies the Height of Life in Cornerstone’s Complete Life mission. Quiet spaces like the ones our teachers have created provide opportunities for students to take ownership of their ability to regulate emotions, a lifelong skill to help them succeed.