This year, I enrolled in the Foundations In Self-Regulation Course through The Mehrit Centre. The incredible discussions that are part of this course have me seeing almost everything through a self-regulation lens. It was actually with this course in mind that I’ve been thinking a lot about recess lately. As a Kindergarten teacher this year, all of my duties are outside in the Kindergarten “pen.” Depending on the time, there are two or three Kindergarten classes outside in this shared space, and usually this area is also full of bicycles, scooters, balls, Hula Hoops, a play structure, and multiple types of tag games. I realized today just how stressed I feel during this duty time. It’s almost like I’m on sensory overload.
- There’s lots of bright-coloured equipment.
- There’s tons of noise.
- Space is restricted.
- There’s lots of movement, but all in a confined area.
I know that outdoor areas and physical activities can help many students and adults self-regulate. I see the value in this movement for so many of my students, and many of them love recess for this very reason. But for me, recess time is a very dysregulating activity.
- I don’t know where to look.
- I become overwhelmed in deciding what to listen to.
- I find myself searching for a small space away from the action, so that I can really see and process everything.
- I take a lot of deep breaths because breathing helps calm me.
I’m an adult. I’m an educator. At this moment in time though, I feel like the struggling student, and I wonder, am I alone? I look for the child that might be acting out. I look for the child that might be seeking out the same quiet area that I am. I search for the child that is struggling. I think, how can we help this child? I’d love to hear what you do. I can’t help but wonder if the answers to this question might help make for a more peaceful recess for everyone. What do you think?