AUSTIN, Texas — Every day, Maria Caiseda, a fifth-grade dual-language and language arts teacher at Langford Elementary School, takes a moment with her class to breathe and share their thoughts.
This year, as the Austin Independent School District introduced Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into their schools, Caiseda believed kids needed a safe place to channel their emotions.
That is when she got the idea to create a "mindfulness room."
"I think it is really important to not only take academics into consideration when teaching our students, but we also have to consider them as people and they have feelings and emotions," Caiseda said.
Currently, the room is only partially complete, but she plans to fill the room with yoga mats, sensory activities and places to relax.
Caiseda also incorporated different scents and soft materials into the room to help students focus on the present.
"I think it's really important for them to have this space to practice checking in with themselves, reflecting, and just having a mindful moment," Caiseda said.
She believed the room would be particularly beneficial around test time, for both students and teachers.
Caiseda's fifth-grade students have already begun using the room. Caiseda believes it is already making a difference.
"In terms of, my students know what it is like to measure their feelings, or at least tell how they feel," she said.
Two other schools in Austin ISD also created mindfulness rooms, according to the district's SEL department.
Caiseda was trained by the district in SEL. She said she knows what items to incorporate into the room that will benefit students.
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However, the room is not complete. It still needs more items like cards, sensory activities and soft floor pillows for students to sit on.
To donate, drop off items at Langford Elementary School.
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