Chill Out Zone
"Play is the work of childhood" - Jean Piaget, Child Psychologist.
Walnut Acres students come to school with creativity and enthusiasm to discover the world in their own unique ways. And one of the main ways children learn is through play and self-initiated projects.
Our students bring beautiful characteristics of perseverance, resilience, thoughtfulness, empathy, and understanding. However many students also struggle with friendship, social skills, regulating their emotions, managing feelings of anxiety and self-worth.
At our school, we are a community that celebrates motivation through self discovery and social emotional learning. We are committed to creating a sense of belonging and community that creates a positive school climate for all learners, including support for our most vulnerable students.
This is why Walnut Acres created CHILL OUT ZONE, a space for play and creating and social learning. Once per week on Mondays during lunch recess, all students can come to CHILL and play.
Staffed by the School Counselor, CHILL OUT ZONE students can do arts and craft projects with paper, pipe cleaners, yarn and more. Students also love pretend play items like doll figures. Building toys such as legos promote collaborative play that builds social skills. Group games such as Connect 4 and Uno encourage cooperative play.
When the weather is nice we move outside for sensory play with play dough and sand trays . We’ve even been known to break out the bubbles and dance tunes. Sensory play and mindful movement allows for calming self regulation.
School Counselors love fun! When children play they relax, build connections and positive relationships with their peers. Play is a child's work, their very own language. When adults watch and support children's play, they can help children manage conflicts resourcefully and with more skill.
Joanne Cosmos Finn, MA, LEP #3058