In a world that never seems to stop moving, we all need a place to get grounded.
What does this look like in the real world? Recently on a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, I visited an entire room devoted for staff and patient mindfulness. In my classroom, we have the be station. After having many names (Take a Break, Relaxation Station, Think Chair) we have landed on be station. (Thank you to Fallon Henderson!) The thought behind this is that students are allowed to show up however they are and just be.
Here are some tips for creating your own be station.
It is crucial that space is provided for movement. A be station with just a chair, misses the bodywork that we know is so important to creating the ideal relaxed, alert state. If space allows, have a yoga mat on the floor to define the boundary. Limited on space? A simple carpet square will do the trick.
The movement at the heart of my be station is the Move Mindfully® Calming Routine. The students are familiar with this routine because we practice as a whole group 2-5 times a week.
The practice is necessary before students are expected to use the movement independently, especially if they are agitated. The Calming Routine is available in a large poster or smaller poster strips. Another option is to have students create their own routine from our Move Mindfully® card deck. Looking for something simpler? We also offer Permission to Pause posters with three movements and a Photo Book with one movement and affirmation per page. Whatever your choice, make sure students have the space and a visual resource that reinforces regulating movement.
Provide Resources for Breath Work
We recommend every be station includes a Hoberman Sphere. Especially if the sphere is already part of the daily routine, having an extra one in the be station will reinforce the belly breathing strategy. Also, pinwheels can be helpful to encourage a releasing breath.
Tap into the Senses
If your site allows, providing essential oils can be an effective way to shift an unproductive state. We love our Move Mindfully® roller bottle blend. Another option is adding a few drops of peppermint, lavender or wild orange to a spray bottle to give students choice.
Nature can be a healing force in our regulation. Having a simple plant or even images of nature can create a grounding effect.
Our Occupational Therapists are a fantastic resource for providing sensory objects for your be station. From soft pillows to worry balls, having a variety of textures available is important.
Your special education team may also have headphones available for students with audio sensitivities. Our students that are easily overstimulated with sounds of school day can find a self-soothing effect in noise cancelling headphones. Think about going underwater and hearing all sounds take on a muffled quality. It makes your breathing amplified and is incredibly grounding.
Classroom Management Tips
1. Only one student allowed in the area at a time. No exceptions.
2. The be Station is not for school work. This is a space to reset and refocus for the tasks of the school day, not a flex seating option.
3. Use a sand timer to limit duration. I recommend offering a few different options to give choice.
4. Model. At least once a week, I try to use the be station. In the beginning I’d hear whispers, “Look- Mrs. Kennelly is doing Yoga!” At first, I was doing it for my students- to be a model. However, now… I notice that I am a better teacher after my break! After I recharge I have more patience, energy and a positive attitude. I have even started using the last two minutes of my prep to do the Calming Routine before I pick up my class from specialists.
Are you ready to get started? Visit our store and pick up the be station kit. It has everything you need to put a be station in place. Looking for lesson plans? Our Teachers Pay Teachers store offers a Getting Started Kit with resources and videos to introduce the tools.
Do you use a be station? What works well? Please leave a comment below!