Many who visit Norma Rose Point School are intrigued with our Peace Pod. To preamble, our entire school is based on a Learning Community concept (otherwise referred to as pods). Each pod (K, 1/2. 3/ 4/5, 6, 7/8) made up of three to five enrolling spaces has a name. Even our Music Studio in the Harmony Pod. Therefore, when we organized a passive sensory room, it became the Peace Pod.
Located in the main hallway adjacent to the office, little ones only enter with a staff member — usually an education assistant. For example, yesterday morning a child in grade 2 had a tough time transitioning to school after the holiday (she was screaming and crying). I turned off the lights in the Peace Pod while turning on our special water lamp and our star ceiling lamp. The child was able to enter with an education assistant, sit in the bean bag chair, watch the water bubble lamp change colours and settle within minutes.
Our Middle School students have the right to enter the Peace Pod when they need some alone time to recalibrate. This often happens when they worried or upset about something.
If a behaviour issue comes my way where the child is too angry to engage in a discussion, I invite them to chill in the Peace Pod which does wonders (yes, I would say it’s even miraculous). In fact, often, the kids simply self-regulate themselves and they don’t need me to speak to them about their behaviour at all. They enter a calm zone and are ready to re-integrate back to class.
Some have asked the areas of research that support the Peace Pod so I point them to the following . . .
Dr Stuart Shanker is the guru on self-regulation. Here’s a very brief but insightful pdf http://www.self-regulation.ca/uploads/5/6/2/6/56264915/foundations_magazine-_self0regulation_by_stuart_shanker.pdf and some more detailed and focussed info: https://self-reg.ca/self-reg/self-regknowledge-series/
Daniel Goleman’s work on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is worthy of noting. This link in particular speaks to the research supporting SEL: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/daniel-goleman-research-supports-sel-betty-ray
(PS Some schools use the Mind Up Program https://mindup.org to help students with the SEL and awareness.)
Most of our K5 communities use the Zones of Regulation http://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html to help students be aware of how they are feeling and strategies to use to help them stay in the appropriate zone. By providing students with “tools” (hands-on manipulatives they can use) and space (the Peace Pod is simply one of the go-to places as most communities have their own go-to places) then we are equipping students with the tools and strategies they need to make good choices without being told. Our goal is to increase learner agency and voice — our Peace Pod is one avenue in doing so.