One of the options to help children who are feeling over stimulated, sad, angry, or just need some quiet time is a cozy area. In our classroom, the cozy area is tucked under the stairs of our classroom loft. The children can bring a blanket or stuffed animal here if they need that to help calm their bodies. The area is in an area which is in a spot that does not have a lot of traffic. The area is protected by staff and other children for children to have the opportunity to have this time. Often times, when I am having a long day/week, I set time aside for myself to relax. This may be taking time for me by reading a book, taking a warm shower/bath, or going to bed early. This space is designed for children to be able to take time for themselves as an adult would and relax and/or calm before returning to their room and peers.
In my classroom (a three, four, and five-year old room), we use a tool called ECERS-R which stands for the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised. The rating scale is composed of 43 parts and two of the 43 parts is a discussion about space and private areas for children. The section labeled “space for privacy” reads that a “high quality program would have more than one space” available for children. Spaces for privacy include areas where children have the opportunity to work alone or with one other person. In our classroom, we have spaces like this around the room including the computer, the provocation (a table designed to spark children’s interest about an item and sketching, scientific inquiry, and conversations can occur) table, the reading area, and a large adult sized chair by the children’s cubbies. These are all spaces our children can gravitate to if they need some time to themselves or with only one other friend. According to ECERS-R, “the soft furnishings in the cozy area must allow a child to completely escape the hardness of a typical early childhood classroom.” Our cozy area is equipped with a bean bag, stuffed animals that are nearby, a chart developed by Dr. Becky Bailey which offers children an opportunity to identify their emotions and which technique they will use to calm their bodies, and books nearby if a child needs those to calm their body.
As new children come to our room, we model and teach about the areas available to the children. Children who have been in our program before also teach the new children how to use the areas as well as checking on them as they begin to feel better.
Do you have one in your classroom? If so, what is in this area and how do the children use it?
Stay tuned as I will share how to make a cozy area at home next time I blog!
Until next time,