Media Center: Safe Place
How to Use a Safe Place in the Media Center
The Safe Place is a center where children can go to change their inner state from upset to composed in order to optimize learning. It is the centerpiece of your self-regulation program. You will want to include a Safe Place in your Media Center, just as you would in any other common space at school.
A chair, beanbag, throw rug or pillow serves as a base for your Safe Place. Fill the Safe Place with tools and activities that lead children through the five steps of self-regulation: I Am, I Calm, I Feel, I Choose, I Solve. Conscious Discipline offers several children’s books that support this process, including I Can Calm, Shubert is a S.T.A.R., Sophie is a S.T.A.R., Shubert Rants and Raves, and Sophie Rants and Raves. Even if you have the full Shubert and Sophie collection on your shelves, you will want to keep duplicates of these books in your Media Center Safe Place.
Adults can learn about the Safe Place in detail, including activities and images, in Chapter 9 of Creating the School Family. All children can learn the four main breathing exercises of Conscious Discipline (S.T.A.R., Drain, Pretzel and Balloon) in Shubert is a S.T.A.R.. Younger children will benefit from “reading” the Sophie is a S.T.A.R. board book that demonstrates belly breathing as a form of active calming. Adults must teach and model these relaxation techniques so children can learn how to calm themselves.
Helpful music for the Safe Place includes “Bye Bye Crankies” on Songs for I Love You Rituals Volume 2, “Snuggle Up” on Songs for I Love You Rituals Volume 1, “S.T.A.R. Song” on It Starts in the Heart, “You Can Relax Now” on Kindness Counts, and “Calm Your Brain” and “Safe and Calm” on Brain Boogie Boosters.
There are many products that support the active calming process, such as the Safe Place Mat, Safe Place Poster Set, I Can Calm book and Calming Pillow Set. The CLASSROOM EDITION: Feeling Buddies Self-Regulation Toolkit offers a comprehensive, advanced approach that teaches not only active calming strategies, but also the essential messages our emotions carry and the constructive inner speech that is crucial to the self-regulation of difficult emotions.