New Calming Spaces at Renaissance

New Calming Spaces at Renaissance
Posted on 02/22/2023
Renaissance Middle School recently launched a “calming spaces” pilot in four of its classrooms.

The pilot has its roots in a December staff training led by Dr. Kristen Niemczyk-Kistner, a social worker at Renaissance, in the use of two social-emotional learning tools, Positive Discipline in the Classroom and Zones of Regulation.

“Positive Discipline is based on the principles of positive psychology which I incorporate in most of my counseling services and training programs,” said Niemczyk-Kistner. “I have created a weekly Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program which is adapted from the Zones of Regulation curriculum and positive psychology.”

Renaissance’s School Action Team for Partnership (SATp) supported the idea of a calming spaces pilot program incorporating Niemczyk-Kistner’s ideas and reached out to families for assistance in providing the school with the materials needed for each: a soft rug, bean bag and a small bin with sensory items as well as coloring books and a 3-minute sand timer.   

school calming space

The launch of the pilot includes one calming space per grade and one in a school-wide area, Niemczyk-Kistner says. The goal is to expand to every classroom.

"The Renaissance SATp is committed to this positive initiative aimed at helping students learn to regulate their emotions and get the most out of the school day,” said Principal Maria Francisco. “We asked, and Renaissance families answered! A huge thank you to all who contributed and helped spread the word about the items needed to get the calming spaces started.”

Want to help keep this initiative viable? SATp committee member Kristin Wald is brainstorming fundraisers to allow for replacement and refreshment of the spaces as time goes on. Please contact her at [email protected] if you’d like to offer your services or help plan. 
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