In an era when youths across Oregon are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, Gladstone’s John Wetten Elementary has been a frontrunner in developing new strategies to help students learn to cope with strong emotions.
This fall, the school opened a new Student Learning Center [SLC], where children can work one-on-one with a teacher to build skills in self-regulation and self-calming. After teacher referral, a student is scheduled for a daily 20-minute visit to the center, which becomes part of their regular school routine.
The dimly lit room is an oasis of calmness, offering students a choice of seven stations from tactile therapy and painting to a light table, a reading corner, and an aquarium.
“Since launching the center this fall, we’ve seen a positive impact in the school,” said Nelson. “Children are learning to identify their emotions, and ways to transfer the skills they learn here to the classroom, home, and other settings. Students have been more regulated in class, and that helps the whole class learn better.”
Wetten’s SLC was developed as part of a school wide approach. Zones of Regulation, a social-emotional learning curriculum, are taught to all students during daily morning meetings, and each classroom has a calming corner. The school developed a partnership with Western Psychological, where students can be referred when their needs are beyond what the school can provide.