Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 32

R E STORAT IVE PRAC TICE S IN ELEM ENTARY S C H O O L Continued from page 29 One of my favorite characters to talk about with my students is Calming Corey who lives in the upstairs part of the brain. Calming Co- rey is the brain character in charge of regula- tion, the one who tells us to take a breath, go for a walk, or get a drink of water. We use Calming Corey to directly teach regulation strategies and practice them together. The practice of frequently regulating together and practicing different ways to regulate in- stills the idea that regulation is a routine part of life in my students. As a result, students are more comfortable spontaneously regulating in the classroom. My classroom has a designated reset space where students can go to regulate them- selves. Most of the time students will go to the reset space voluntarily, but occasion- “Once a student is regulated, it is tempting to let them rejoin the community and the activity without repairing the harm. Without the repair step, students are more likely to repeat the behavior because they are not returning to the community by connecting with peers and are not ac- knowledging the space that they harmed.” Page 30 Winter 2019 ally one of the adults in the room may use a restorative prompt to ask a student if they think they need the reset space based on where they appear to be on the Zones of Regulation scale. The Zones of Regulation range from blue to green to yellow to red. There are different emotions that are associ- ated with each colored zone. Each zone has regulation strategies to help the person get back to green, which is where we need to be to learn. Generally students will go right over to the space when prompted by an adult. There are six regulation strategies that I di- rectly teach to children. Keeping in mind the idea that behavior is a child’s way of expressing unmet needs, I based the six strategies for regulation on behaviors I was seeing in the classroom. For example, one of my students would frequently bury herself under three bean bags in our book nook when she was feeling stressed or frustrated. I recognized this action as a need for some- thing heavy to be on her body to help her regulate herself. I came up with a few strate- gies that both squeeze the body and move oxygen through her body at a more rapid pace. The other regulation techniques are progressive muscle relaxation, self-hugging breathing exercises, and, for students need- ing a fine motor strategy, the thumb and finger press, which involves pressing the tip of your thumb to each of the other fingers one by one. Once a student is regulated, it is tempting to let them rejoin the community and the activity without repairing the harm. Without CSEE Connections