Playground: Safe Place
How to Use a Safe Place on the Playground
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. A portable Safe Place is helpful for use on the playground.
Establishing an outdoor Safe Place is a bit different than setting up one for use in the classroom, but it is important for children to have a place to handle tough emotions while engaging in outdoor play. Select a bench or use a small blanket to designate the ground space that will serve as your Safe Place. Carry your Safe Place materials to and from the outdoors using a Safe Place Case (a small backpack, plastic bin, lunchbox or other container). Fill the case with tools and activities that support active calming.
The I Choose Self-Control Board is an ideal portable Safe Place tool. In addition, a Stress S.T.A.R., the I Can Calm book, Calming and Cranky Cream made from the templates on the School Family Make-N-Take, available as digital downloads as part of our Premium Resource Toolkit, printed breathing icons from our Free Resource Toolkit, crayons and paper are all wonderful items to include in your case. Personalize the contents of the case to meet the needs of the children in your care, and remember to model the active calming techniques you wish children to use.
The Safe Place is discussed in detail, including activities and images, in Chapter 9 of Creating the School Family. 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.