Calm Down And Take A Breather!

Mrs. Allison Makowski is piloting a “Calm Corners” program within 15 EHS teacher classrooms.


Jenny Quintano, Editor-in-Chief

 Inhale… and exhale… clear the mind just for a moment. 

As a student, stress runs in the veins. Catching up on work to not be behind, making sure to have projects done, and also not forgetting to study for the test: It’s very easy to be overwhelmed and get stressed out just in school–let alone all the other activities.

Being a student is not an easy job, and keeping calm in classrooms before a test or speech–or even just sitting in class!–can pose a dilemma to some. There are moments where the brain goes into heavy work mode–just getting the work done and forgetting to take a moment to breathe.

What should the school do to help students manage stress? Perla Diaz, a junior, responds. “ There should be a place and a certain time–at least five- to ten-minute break–to just adjust,” she states. “Dealing with COVID and all the new changes can be a lot to take in.”

Sometimes, there are those tough days where maybe the tiniest thing can push someone over limits, and he or she just needs a break. Mrs. Allison Makowski, school counselor for Arts & Communications, recognized that need. In fact, she wrote a grant to the Elkhart Foundation to address the very concerns that Diaz notes. “The grant was for students to be able to have a calm area and calm corners for teachers’ classrooms,”  Mrs. Makowski states.  Makowski was awarded the grant and now has 15 teachers helping to pilot the program.     

Equipped with weighted pads, stuffed lions, and different fidget toys, these 15 teachers were ready to go. So, how does this calm corner actually work? Makowski replies. “Basically, if a student has a rough day, it helps to relieve stress without going to the administrator, going to the hall, or leaving the classroom in general.” But, how do students know where and how to use these calm corners? A prerequisite is to first be a student in one of these 15 teachers’ rooms.  After that, the criteria for using it depends upon each class and each teacher. Makowski explains. “Actually, students helped name the corners and got to choose the rules for it.”

Diaz has actually tried out a “calm” locations herself. “The corners are really helpful and fun,” she confesses. “It’s better and helps me relax in class.” The hope is to eventually expand this concept into every classroom. Although some teachers already have little fidgets for students or other stress-relieving items to help calm students, Makowski hopes to fully equip all teachers–not just these first 15.

It’s important to remember that “taking a breather” once in a while is okay.