Agenda item number one on new Children’s Programs Coordinator Kaycie Warren’s to-do list: adapt each aspect of the classroom to help our students’ trauma needs. With that in mind, we transformed the space to be more open, more therapeutic, and less stimulating.


Here are three areas she’s redesigned to be have a more child-centered, trauma-informed classroom:


The Balance Center: This new space just off of the classroom will be available for children to go to anytime they need a moment away from the rest of the group. During a child’s time here, an adult may help them work through the process of identifying his or her emotions, practicing a coping skill – which we will be learning – and possibly constructing a plan for the next time similar emotions arise. There are self soothing items they can play with, and a couch with comfy pillows and blankets if they just need a rest. The Balance Center will provide a way to get to the root of their emotions and behaviors and help shift them to be more constructive, safe, and positive for themselves and others.


The Library: We’ve both rearranged and cleaned out the classroom library. By condensing the books to titles the kids really want to read, we were able to clear the space of clutter and keep it from becoming overstimulating. We’ve also reorganized the books by reading level and organized the selves so our younger students will find their books closer to eye-level. With soft new colors on the wall, live plants, and a cushioned reading area, the library is warm and inviting. It will be a wonderful place to begin and end our afternoons together.


Mindful Movement Area: We’ve opened up a space for mindful movement in the classroom. Anytime movement is used intentionally and mindfully, the children will begin to develop and strengthen awareness of body and mind, promoting the ability to manage emotion, use coping and self soothing skills, and self regulate. This is a big passion of mine so we will be doing plenty of activities that require this space.