Second-grader Rahmie Charles says he has a go-to resource to help him feel better at school.
If he feels frustrated or stressed, he can reach for a calming Kit. The kit contains a set of tangible resources like Koosh Balls, a sensory maze, and flexible toys to play with as he takes a few moments to re-focus.
“If I get really mad I take a couple breaths, I calm down, and then I feel better,” Rahmie said.
While calming Kits have been a resource at Comanche Elementary since last year, the school community is working to expand the number of kits this year, social worker Amanda Harlow said. Community volunteers who support Comanche elementary are gathering resources and putting together calming kits so that the school can provide every student their own kit. Providing one to each student will be more sanitary and will provide a needed resource to help students during a challenging time.
Not only do they help students in the moment, they also serve in support of the districtwide objective that students will develop interpersonal skills to be engaged, empathetic members of the local and global community.
“We hope for all students to become familiar with how to utilize calming kits when they need help with big or difficult feelings,” Harlow shared.
Calming kits were implemented as a result of staff taking part in Trauma Smart training, offered to provide evidence-based methods to promote self-care and support students and staff through difficult times. The school has also implemented a chill spot, a place where students know they can feel safe, take a short break to calm down or refocus, and use calming strategies like breathing while they are in the classroom. This month, the school will be working with families to help them become more familiar with the Trauma Smart Concepts.
Harlow noted that students are often able to re-engage in learning after using a calming kit or visiting a chill spot and several have shared they use the strategies at home.
“We prioritize students feeling safe when they are inside our building,” Harlow said. “ Students are more capable of learning at their highest potential when they are in a regulated state and have basic needs met. The kits are a piece of the puzzle. They help students with self-awareness and self-management, which supports students’ abilities to engage in learning, relationships, and responsible decision making.”
St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and Community Impact Church, who connected with Comanche through Caring for Kids, are collaborating with Comanche to help them expand access to calming Kit resources.