Learning healthy coping skills and regulating emotions is critical but often neglected.
At Parker Street Ministries, ensuring our kids have the tools they need for their emotional health is a top priority. Utilizing these tools now will serve them well as they grow and reach adulthood.
This school year, PSM has been blessed to have two social work interns from Southeastern University working under the supervision of a licensed mental health counselor to help teach important practices such as regulating emotions, conflict resolution, and stress reduction activities.
In addition, the interns organized calm down corners in every classroom so students have a safe place that supports them emotionally and physically when they are feeling overstimulated and are in need of a break. The calm down corners are not used as a punishment but rather as a tool to help students navigate and identify strong emotions and provide an opportunity to form stronger relationships with others and develop skills of empathy.
Each calm down corner is equipped with:
- Colorful posters showing important coping strategies and exercises. A weighted dinosaur that provides kids with deep pressure stimulation, which uses gentle pressure to create the feelings of being safe, cozy, calm, and lowers the heart rate. The dino provides the same pressure as a hug, massage, or even a baby swaddle.
- Helpful books such as The Color Monster for helping students when they cannot pinpoint a singular emotion or may be experiencing multiple emotions & When Harley Has Anxiety about an adorable hedgehog who gets anxiety, too, and how to work through it.
- Fidgets and stress balls for kids when they are feeling anxious or unfocused.
- A pinwheel that’s perfect for deep breathing exercises.
- Sensory bottles and scented playdough.
- Coloring sheets to help reduce stress levels.
- Mindful maze board to teach kids how to soothe themselves and breathe.
- Think sheets for kids to reflect on their behavior and more!
This initiative is made possible by The Libertore Fund for Children and their grant. Thank you!
Parker Street Ministries (PSM) is a 501c3 in Lakeland, Florida, that follows a Gospel-centered model characterized by living, listening, affirming dignity, and building community together in and through the Parker Street neighborhood. Parker Street Ministries is committed to Gospel-centered community development through the focus areas of: Fostering Spiritual Growth so Christ and His Gospel are front and center, Supporting Lifetime Learners through educational opportunities, Stabilizing the Neighborhood by addressing the quality and availability of housing, and Cultivating Connections so gaps in relationships and services are bridged.