Wellness Room at Riverview

Submitted by angela.killian on
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Dear Riverview Parents,

Something new at Riverview is our Wellness Room.  We are going to name it the "Green Room".  The Green Room is to address Social Emotional Learning.

It is hard to gauge the full impact that the coronavirus situation is having on children’s mental health and well-being.   For most, returning to school will mostly be a safe and enjoyable experience.  For others, it will be challenging or traumatic. The Green Room is designed to meet the social emotional needs of every student.

What is the Green Room? The purpose of the Green Room is two-fold and based on physiology and brain science. We want to help students to recognize how their stress response system works and what coping skills they can use to manage their emotions and behavior. It is a safe and positive place for ALL students to temporarily step away from the classroom for an opportunity to calm their body and emotions.  The Green Room is never a punishment, but rather a calm environment for students to go to receive support. 

Why is it called the Green Room?  The Green Room is named for the “Green Zone” within the Zones of Regulation curriculum.  When students are in the Green Zone, they are happy, focused, calm and ready to learn.  The Green Room helps students take a break and refocus on learning through movement breaks, calming breaks and refocusing. The Green Room is a space that supports positive behaviors for ALL students in our school.

What Happens in the Green Room?  If a student, during the school day, feels stressed, frustrated, sad or angry, they can choose to take a break to the Green Room where they can engage in calming sensory activities. The activities in the Green Room have been specifically chosen because they stimulate at least one of the 5 senses and will calm the nervous system effectively. Students have at least 10 minutes to engage in an activity and this teaches them healthy ways to calm their nervous system and self-regulate by engaging in healthy coping skills. If a student is still not regulated after 10 minutes, they may request to stay a little bit longer. It is important they feel regulated and ready to learn when they leave.

In The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk M.D. states “Just as we teach history and geography, we need to teach children how their brains and bodies work.  For adults and children alike, being in control of ourselves requires becoming familiar with our inner world and accurately identifying what scares, upsets, or delights us.”

There are many personal qualities not measured by tests.  The learner powers help students identify some of those personal qualities: wonder, think, be determined, question, connect, reflect and self-aware.  The Green Room reinforces our learner powers and the learning pit.  We understand that there are times that children are going to feel upset, worried, stressed, angry, or sad.  It is okay to feel these emotions, and sometimes it is even expected.  It is not okay to stay stuck in these emotions.  Our goal is to help students gain skills in the area of self-regulation, climb out of the learning pit and be able to return to feelings of confidence, calm, happy, focus and ready to learn.