Date
01 April 2020

Offer relaxation options and downtime activities

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Support emotional wellbeing and positive mental health’

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Take mindfulness breaks

Take mindfulness breaks

A science teacher recommends the app Headspace to guide mindfulness breaks in the classroom.

Invite students to share knowledge about calming or grounding activities from their own culture.

Offer tools to release tension

Offer tools to release tension

Movement often reduces tension and assists concentration.

Regular breaks throughout the day, supported by sensory tools, help students to stay focused and calm the nervous system.

Identify with students a range of equipment they would like to use. Consider:

  • swiss balls
  • ergonomic chairs
  • adjustable seating
  • equipment, such as bean bags, stress balls, fidget toys
  • height-adjustable tables
  • noise-reducing headphones
  • weighted blanket

Create a calming box

Create a calming box

Create a calm box for your classroom.

Ask students to recommend objects to reduce agitation or self-soothe.

Include brain break activities.

Adapt to match age group.

Calming box ideas

Word search

Rubik’s Cube

Mini massager

Beads to string

Fidgets

Small puzzle

Playdough

Stress balls

Eye mask

Weaving activity

Snow globe or kaleidoscope

Weighted blanket

Noise cancelling headphones

Colouring or drawing activity and pens

Collection of heavy stones or decorative eggs to hold

Visual calm down strategy cards

MP3 player with audio books, music guided meditations, or breathing exercises

Kinesthetic strategies

Kinesthetic strategies

Teach students approaches such as yoga or Tai Chi during structured movement breaks.

Explain how these are lifelong tools for wellness and managing stress.

Make explicit links to a Māori perspective on mindfullness.

Reflective questions

Reflective questions

Adapt for your own context.
  • How do you model the use of relaxation techniques to manage your own stress?
  • How could you strengthen a culture that values self-care as an integral part of wellbeing?
  • What small changes could you suggest to increase the relaxation options in your learning space?
  • How can you include calming or grounding activities that draw from the cultures represented in your classroom?
  • How will you connect the strategies you include in the classroom to a Māori perspective on mindfulness?

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

6 second pause strategy and posters

Publisher: Goalbook

Visit website

Website

Managing emotions: Sparklers

Publisher: Sparklers

Visit website

Website

Mindfulness practice – free resources

Publisher: Mindfulness Education Group

Visit website

Next steps

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Strategies for action:

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