The Ultimate Guide to Building a Mindful Space in the Classroom
A mindful space in your classroom or school can be a powerful way to transform everyday living. We believe the best way to build a mindful space is to add tools that speak to all the senses*, so there's a full experience for students to unwind into. Also, by integrating the thoughts and perspectives from everyone in the classroom, it can be a space for all to reflect that also reflects all. Here's more of our recommendations:
First off, visual elements set the stage for the experience. Whatever objects you do decide to add, invest in ones with calming colors, rounded corners instead of sharp edges, and an attractive quality. Ideally, students feel calmer just by glancing at the space!
Although the space isn’t designed to be a reading center, it may be helpful to have a couple of simple mindfulness related books to include at the space. Choose a couple that are guided practices, not just stories. We’ve got a few articles highlighting our favorites.
If there’s enough room, a small space for coloring or journaling can also provide a powerful platform for reflection. Include some mindful worksheets, calm color pencils or crayons, and a notebook where everyone can share.
A glitter jar can provide the perfect visual cue for students to calm down, particularly younger students. If you don’t want to make your own, you can dust off an old snowglobe, or find a virtual one to use instead.
Tips for calming down work great, too, for students that can read on their own! Ask each of your students to share their favorite way for calming down. Put them together on one sheet of paper and print it out, so they can test out each other’s favorite practices. Be sure to leave space at the bottom for students to write their own!
A smartphone or tablet with headphones can be a great addition to your space, only if it’s pre-loaded with soothing mindful playlists or audio sessions. Explore our free Spotify playlists here, and join our programs to get access to dozens of short mindfulness sessions for students in English and Spanish. Want to create a space that's calm in the midst of hectic-ness? Consider adding a pair of noise canceling headphones so students can truly tune in.
Add lots of tactical props that can help ground students in the present moment.
Tactical tools can make the space more comfortable as well, which can naturally facilitate calming down and build a more welcoming space for reflection. Consider adding small pillows, cushions and blankets. Also add a chair, for students that feel more comfortable sitting in a structured environment.
A no-fuss plant, like a succulent or air plant, is a great way to demonstrate to students how to practice self-care. Have students spritz with water, talk to it, or hold it and reflect on it mindfully.
Scent can be the quickest way to shift someone's emotional state. Soothing smells, like lavender and cedar, can help ground students and calm them down. Citrus and eucalyptus scents can bring some positivity to the space. A diffuser with essential oils can help fill the space with calming or uplifting vibes. Alternatively, an unlit candle can be easily stashed to provide some refreshing scents. Another option worth investing in is a scented eye mask, which has the added benefit of blocking light.
Be sure to collaborate with your students when building this space, to ensure their values, beliefs and perspectives are all represented in the space.
Shift the language from “you” to “we” and “our” in all text around this space. This helps kinds further understand that this space is something designed for them all, and isn’t simply an individual, lonely experience.
Introduce the mindful space to students parents and their peers so they all understand that it’s a space for them to ground and connect.
Always invite students to the mindful space as an invitation, not an expectation, nor as a punishment or reward. Ideally this space feels like a tool when difficult emotions arise, and is positively correlated with a practice of self-regulation.
THE MINDFUL SPACE CHECKLIST
- Glitter Jar
- Calming colors and shapes
- Sculptural object
- Glitter jar or equivalent
- Mindfulness sessions
- Soft music
- Hoberman Sphere
- Stretchy Resistance Bands
- Fidget Spinners
- No-fuss plant
- Essential oils
- Scented eye mask or pillow
What does your mindful space look like? Let us know in the comments below!