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The idea of co-creating a “Take a Break Space” came from a year-long goal to help support the development of student agency (voice, choice and ownership).

We know that when the students have a say in their learning, it is ultimately more successful as they become deeply invested. 

We began with introducing them to the idea that as part of our SEL journey, we were going to work together to create our very own “Take a Break Space.” We invited the students to design a plan for the space and leave it to their creativity to decide that the space should include a mini-fridge, bunk beds and waterslides. Dream Big, Grade Ones! 

Most students felt that the space should have somewhere comfortable to sit, a wide range of fidgits and the general consensus was that books were a must. We took all of their awesome suggestions and added a little practicality for what would make sense in a classroom and gathered some materials that we hoped would satisfy the wishes and dreams of all of our students. We asked our students to help place the big items like carpets, pillows, posters and chairs and worked as a group to decide what calming and soothing items should reside in the basket of goodies. 

We spent a fair bit of time learning how to use the space:

  • When can they visit it
  • How we keep track of who vistis and for how long
  • How to ensure that the space is kept tidy and organized

Once we had our grand opening, there was a flurry of visitors clamouring to have their turn. The students have been seen adjusting stools and pillows and making sure that the space is well cared for and kept intact. 

We have watched our students use the space for a variety of reasons and all are valid. Some come for curiosity, some because their friend went so they wanted a turn too but most students have been using it to help grow their emotional wellness. After recess is a busy time when students are extra excited from a soccer game at recess or feeling a little perplexed about a social challenge. Some students visit when they need a break during a taxing academic task and others find it the perfect way to start their day with a little bit of zen and calm.

We are proud of the journey our students have taken to install their very own Take a Break Space!

By: Bonnie Gremont, Teacher for 1A

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