In our program we have a
special place where kids can go to "Take-A-Break." This is a
special quiet area where kids know they can go to get away, calm down, and
get back in control. Sometimes children choose to use the break area on
their own. Sometimes I will ask a child to "Take-A-Break" if
they are having difficulty maintaining their self-control.
It is important that the
children understand the "rules" for taking a break and that they
know what it looks like to "Take-A-Break." We discuss it as a
class frequently and I model it for the children. Then I let them model it
for me. We write down some thoughts on chart paper about what it means to
take a break. For example, we are quiet, resting, thinking, and not bothering
others, and others don't bother us.
The children understand that
this is NOT A PUNISHMENT. But instead a chance for them to cool
down and try again. I try very hard to keep the "Take-A-Break"
area positive and not to let it become a way to "control"
children's behavior but rather it becomes a tool for them to learn to
regulate their own self-control.
We have a soft chair for the
"Take-A-Break" spot. "Be Calm Bunny" stays here so
children can hold him and pet him and his job is to help them calm down.
There are some squishy balls to squeeze, and you can add other
"calming" things if you wish.
is really an alternative to "Time Out" as a punishment. It
really is a way for children to learn self control and to release teachers
and parents from entering into power struggles with children. We have had
a lot of success with this in our classroom.
This strategy is a part of the
Responsive Classroom approach. Learn more about it at http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/index.html
Download a copy of our Take-A-Break
cue chart we post next to the Take-A-Break spot.