Calm corners to support emotional wellness
The Sector > Provider > General News > Creating Calm Corners in Classrooms: Fostering Emotional Wellness alongside Learning

Creating Calm Corners in Classrooms: Fostering Emotional Wellness alongside Learning

by Beth Borowsky

May 22, 2024

In our bustling world of education, where knowledge is shared and young minds expand, it’s essential to recognise that not all learning occurs within the confines of a structured curriculum. 


As we well know, emotional wellbeing is crucial to children’s development. It significantly influences their enthusiasm and ability to learn while they navigate the social-emotional complexities of ‘life at school’.

With an increase in child stress and a seeming decrease in emotional regulation, educators are increasingly turning their attention to fostering emotional intelligence alongside learning and academic achievement. One practical and effective method gaining popularity is the creation of ‘Calm Corners’ in learning spaces. 

At The Karma Class, we call them Peace Corners.


Why Peace Corners?


In our Karma Classroom PD, we advocate for weaving in daily Peace Pauses, minutes where students are given the opportunity to pause, breathe, up or down regulate, move to oxygenate brain and body, and find that ‘just right’ space between calm and alert where inspired learning, listening and play follows. 


Peace Corners, on the other hand, are designated spaces within learning spaces to which students can retreat to regulate their emotions, practice self-soothing techniques, or simply take a moment to collect themselves. 


The concept is rooted in the understanding that emotional regulation is a skill that can be taught and nurtured, much like any other academic subject. By providing a designated area for emotional self-care, children feel empowered to develop crucial life skills that will serve them well beyond the classroom walls. It’s a safe space – away from everyone else – that gives them a place to re-centre and re-focus so they can return to  the learning and/or playing feeling calm and more regulated.


Supporting Emotional Wellbeing


The benefits of Peace Corners extend far beyond the immediate moment of stress or frustration. Here are some vital ways in which they contribute to children’s emotional well-being:


Stress Reduction


Peace Corners provide a refuge for children experiencing heightened emotions or stress. By offering a safe and quiet space, these corners enable them to decompress and regain their composure – a safe space where they can ground, re-centre and return to a calmer state of being.


Emotional Regulation


Through regular visits to the Peace Corner, children learn strategies for managing their emotions constructively. Whether it’s deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques, or simply taking a few quiet moments for themselves, they develop valuable self-regulation skills that can be applied in various situations, and beyond the classroom too.


Conflict Resolution


In instances of interpersonal conflict or disagreement, Peace Corners offer students an opportunity to step away from the situation and reflect on their feelings. This can help prevent escalation and promote peaceful resolution.


Improved Focus and Concentration


Emotional turmoil can be a significant barrier to listening, learning and play. By providing a means for students to address their emotions in a healthy manner, Peace Corners help create an environment conducive to more focused and enthusiastic learning.


Building Resilience


Learning to navigate and overcome emotional challenges is an essential ingredient to building resilience. Peace Corners provide a safe haven for students to develop resilience by facing and managing their emotions effectively.


Creating a Peace Corner: Ideas and Strategies


While the concept of Peace Corners is simple, their effectiveness relies on thoughtful design and implementation. Here are some ideas for creating a peace corner in your classroom:


Comfortable and Welcoming Space 


Arrange soft cushions, bean bags, or small comfy chairs to provide a comfortable and inviting space for children to relax.


Sensory Tools


Incorporate sensory items such as stress balls, fidget toys, squishies, or textured objects to engage children’s senses and promote relaxation. Some students might benefit from sensory items like, noise cancelling headphones, calming music, glitter wand, kinetic sand, bubblers or puppets.




Offer one or two books that help to take their minds off whatever is causing them distress – nature, yoga or mindfulness – where they can be absorbed by interesting pictures, an engaging story or inspiring characters.


Visual Calm 


Avoid clutter and bright primary colours! Decorate the calm corner with calm, soothing tones and imagery, such as nature scenes or abstract designs, to create a visually calming environment. Less is often more!


Yoga Cards or a Yoga Poster 


Either of these can be a great tool for those children who need to move and stretch their bodies.


Mindfulness Resources 


Include mindfulness activities or guided meditation scripts that students can follow to help centre their thoughts and emotions. Perhaps a headset with calming music or a pre-recorded Imagination Vacation guided meditation.


Stuffed animals


Stuffed animals can provide comfort and a feeling of safety.


Breathing Exercises


Display visual reminders of simple breathing exercises, such as Balloon Belly Breath, Count down to Calm or Square Breath to encourage children to practice calming techniques independently.


Emotion Cards


Provide a selection of emotion cards or an emotion chart that students can use to help identify and express their feelings. This can facilitate self-awareness and emotional literacy.


Affirmation Cards


If age appropriate, include a deck of affirmation cards. They get to pick one and breathe deeply into that ‘truth’.


Writing + collage supplies


Offer a variety of writing tools like pencils and paper, magazines, glue, prompts or visuals that encourage children to express themselves as they experiment with images and words. 


Quiet Activities


Offer quiet, calming activities such as mandala colouring and puzzles.


Beads and thread


Offer a section of beads and coloured thread.


Involve the group

What helps your students to regulate and feel calmer? Invite them to contribute to the design and maintenance of their Peace Corner, whether it’s through books, artwork, music, inspirational quotes or suggestions for other calming resources.

In conclusion

Alongside daily Peace Pauses, Peace Corners offer a tangible way for educators to prioritise students’ emotional well-being and create a supportive learning environment. By investing in the establishment of these spaces, and providing children with the tools and resources they need to navigate their emotions effectively, educators lay the foundation for social, emotional and academic success and lifelong
emotional resilience.

In our fast-paced world of education, a moment of calm can make all the difference.

Beth Borowsky is the Founder and Head of Wellbeing Education at The Karma Class, a company dedicated to elevating wellbeing culture within centres with transformational (and accredited) PD and kids yoga classes. Beth is a mum, former Montessori pre-school teacher and lecturer, and one of Sydney’s most inspiring kids and adult yoga teachers, teacher trainers and retreat leaders. Her passion is to inspire others to live a life of health, vitality and joy through daily practices that keep us all thriving.

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