Communicating Emotions in Early Childhood
The children in the T'marim class (EC3-4) have been enjoying a new space in their classroom: a calming space. Calming spaces help children to practice identifying their feelings and emotions to better manage stress, self-regulate, and control their impulses. Having a space designed to support them emotionally and physically helps them feel safe and comfortable, allowing them to let down their guard to process different feelings. The T’marim quiet space is designed for one student at a time... it is like a tropical oasis in the class with plants and sand!
The teachers first modeled this space for the children. When they first enter the calming space, the children point to the emoji on a feeling chart that best represents their emotional state. Next, the children can create designs in the sand using scrapers, chopsticks, a brush, colored gems, and stones… a very relaxing activity. We added pictures of mandalas to this space for additional design inspiration. When the child is finished, they clean up the space. Lastly, the student points to their emotion on the feeling chart to summarize how he/she feels as they leave the calming space.
Learning how to communicate one’s feelings and emotions can be difficult, but calming spaces such as this help children practice mindfulness and develop the skills they need to identify their emotions and communicate them when necessary. Stronger communication skills help them form stronger relationships with others and develop skills in empathy.