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Creating Classroom Getaway Spaces for Children

An Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith


This video was created as part of the Guiding Young Children's Behavior series, an interactive training curriculum that provides current and future early childhood professionals with tools and strategies for guiding preschool children's behavior in positive ways. The curriculum was originally made possible through the generous support of the U.S. Department of Defense for Project Navigate, a project to support the professional development of early childhood professionals in U.S. Navy child care centers. This video focuses on designing a classroom getaway space as a way to help children manage their emotions and self-regulate.

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  • Transcript for Creating Classroom Getaway Spaces for Children

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    JEFFREY TRAWICK-SMITH (Expert): Research shows that all children, but particularly children with special needs, will engage in more positive behavior in a classroom if they are able to get away now and then, and be on their own. So there needs to be some kind of private space in every classroom for children to escape active classroom life. Now I need to point out we’re not talking here about the time out area, we’re talking about a pleasant, cozy comfortable space—a soft space, maybe with some pillows, maybe some stuffed animals, a few books to look at, you know,a cozy space for children to get away. And then, caregivers can watch, and when they see that children are showing signs of stress, when they see that children are becoming a little bit aggressive, when they see children are growing tired, maybe at the end of the day, they can invite them to take a break in these warm, comfortable spaces. One researcher found that the most soothing kind of getaway space to create is one where children really do feel completely alone, where they feel like they’re really separated from the rest of the class, but where there’s a space that allows them to peek out into the rest of the classroom, so that they can kind of stay in touch with what everybody in the classroom is doing.

    © 2006 Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University
    May be reprinted for educational purposes.
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