December 5, 2019
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA--Collegewood Elementary students now have a soft place to “land” on campus if they are struggling to manage feelings of anxiety, stress, or anger.
This fall, the school unveiled its new Landing Spot designed to support the social and emotional wellness of all students.
A front office has been transformed into a cozy and calming space complete with canvas teepee tent, sofa, shag rug, and all kinds of activities designed to help diffuse an upset child.
“The Landing Spot is a place where students can come when their feelings get big and utilize research-based tools to de-escalate and talk through feelings so that they can land in a place that allows them to refocus on learning,” said Principal Dr. Mary Wendland.
A school administrator, counselor, or psychologist works individually with students during each Landing Spot session that might include deep breathing exercises or running fingers through kinesthetic sand that provides increased feelings of calmness.
Collegewood has been awarded prestigious CSBA 2019 Golden Bell and PBIS Platinum awards for its exemplary approach to school-wide intervention.
“This room gives students a place that is safe and free of judgement as they work through their emotions,” Wendland said.
Children might opt to snuggle under weighted blanket, listen to a sound machine, or watch gentle waves in a calming jar to help ease feelings of anxiety.
Journal writing assists students in rating the magnitude of their problem, naming associated feelings, and processing ways to work through them.
A plastic box filled with foam balls and fidget objects helps students manage the physical manifestations (stress and muscle tension) of their emotions.
A Velcro wall supports youngsters in need of sensory stimulation to regain focus and the affirmation station emphasizes the importance of learning from challenges and the power of self-talk.
The Landing Spot has taken innovative efforts addressing the physical safety, social awareness, and emotional wellness of all our students, according to counselor Erica Robledo.
“It’s a great spot for students to land and leave happy, healthy, and emotionally well!” she said.
In addition, several teachers on campus have implemented special classroom areas for the same purpose.
A bookshelf outside the Landing Spot is stocked with character development literature for lessons on social situations that cause students stress, anger, and feelings that are hard to manage.
“I love that the Landing Spot provides a private space for students to address their emotions and express them in a way that is safe,” added fifth grade teacher Florence Yu.
“I’m grateful for the support this provides for students and for teachers!”
The school has already seen an impressive payoff to the new plan with a dramatic decrease in suspensions, with none reported this year.
“The outward behavior may look like disengagement or defiance, but when we take the time to communicate with students more deeply, we see that our students need compassion and support instead of discipline,”Wendland said.
“Our students are successfully working through issues that disrupt their well-being and ability to process learning.”
Collegewood Elementary “Landing Spot” rewarded with 2019 CSBA Golden Bell Award.