In today's fast paced world of quick meals before practices and quick breakfasts before the bus comes and quick...lets get up and get moving before we're late, there is not much room for children to ease into their day and notice the beauty around them. If they are running late Mom or Dad is dressing them in their practice uniform while they are eating or while they are eating an adult might be helping them tie their shoes or get their socks on so they will not be late for whatever the activity for the morning, afternoon or evening is that day! Believe me...I was right there with when my 3 now adult children were little and involved in so many activities...so many, in fact, that I look back on those days and wonder how I did that with a traveling husband and really not much support to get them back and forth to cheerleading, football, dance, play rehearsals, violin, viola and piano lessons, field hockey practice, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, Brownies, singing lessons and who knows what else!! Although "our world" was not as "techie" as today, we did have Pac-Man, Froggy and some other types of "computer"games.
So where am I going with this? Well, as teachers, we must realize what our families and little ones are up against in this fast-paced world so that when they come to school, they feel safe, calm and can feel like they are in a world that is nurturing and relaxed. A world were they do not have to feel stressed or overwhelmed, but can be their best selves.
So here are a few tips that you can put into place immediately that will give your kiddos a relaxed haven. As teachers teaching during this holiday season, you might want to incorporate some of these ideas on Monday or right after Winter Break when the students have been away from school for a week plus and now...well...let's just say many of your students may have forgotten many or the classroom routines and have been away from the classroom structure. So, try some of these tips...oh and did I mention that these are tried and true...I have used these for over 20+ years in my classroom and now that I am retired and volunteer in my daughter's SpEd Kindergarten classroom, we use these ideas in her classroom, too!
1. As Students come into the classroom, greet them at the door to make them feel special and
relaxed. If children feel good about themselves, they will be calmer and ready to learn.
2. Play soft classical music. You will be surprised at the calmness it brings and how parents
notice this calming music, which they always had a positive comment to share about the music
playing as the children entered the classroom. I always enjoyed hearing children humming the
music as they unpacked and got ready for the day! They were relaxed and learning about music
and what feelings it evoked.Some classical musicians who have calming genres are:
Brahms, Wagner, Pachelbel, Handel, Chopin and Bach to name a few, but I would suggest
listening to the works before just hitting "play." Here is a site that has some calming classical
pieces you can check out! Relaxing Music for your Classroom
3. Many teachers give their students morning work to complete, which is fine. However what I have
done over the years is given students a "soft landing" time. During this time, the kiddos can chat
calmly, buddy read, read to self, work on an activity that needs to be finished, pick a morning
work sheet to complete, buddy write or complete their classroom job, which are jobs that help the
teacher get organized (attendance, calendar, lunch count etc.).
4. Our schedule was not very conducive to calmness as within 15 minutes of arrival time,
our special teachers were in our classrooms ready to start their lesson.
As a result, we had to have our Morning Meeting after special time. In order to address this issue and create a calmness before the kiddos jumped into working with the special teachers, we would gather on the rug and "Pass a Smile." This only took a few minutes and supported a calm feeling before they got to work.
5. Add a daily "Quiet Time" to your schedule. Schedule 5-10 minutes after your recess or at a time
you notice your class seems to need a break. During this time the children listen to calm music
and can do any activity within your rule framework independently and alone. Some ideas are: Relax and listen to the music, read, color, draw, write, catch up on work, anything that is quiet and can be completed alone. This time is a time to relax and refocus for the rest of the day.
6. Add brain breaks into your day to support children to refocus and be relaxed and ready to move on with their day. Some ideas for Brain Breaks can be found at:
Brain breaks TpT . Check these out for some great ideas!
I hope you find these ideas helpful They are ALL tried and true and have helped hundreds of children stay calm in our hectic world.
I will leave you with this one thought: During those calm and quiet moments we give ourselves time to think and understand; come up with ideas to inspire others; become our best selves and are ready to learn what the world has to offer.
Enjoy the rest of your year!