At District School Board Ontario North East, we have created chill rooms in our secondary schools and chill spaces in some of our elementary classrooms. These areas provide an indirectly supervised safe, quiet and calming space for students to self-regulate. At the secondary level, students access these areas using classroom exit cards. At the elementary level students move to the area when they recognise their stress levels are rising and they need a quiet, safe space to re-center and/or calm down. Students are encouraged to utilize a 10 minute timer to manage their time in the space.
Each school and classroom takes a unique and individualized approach to create a space that best meets their students’ needs. All spaces are equipped with coping skills toolkits that may include puzzles, writing supplies, breathing exercises, meditation or relaxation recordings, a mindful bottle, stress balls, fidget toys, playdoh, pipe cleaners, and drawing/art supplies. The majority of students are familiar with these resources as they have been introduced as self-regulation tools through class-wide SEL learning programs as well as other mental health and well-being initiatives.
Chill rooms are a student led initiative that stemmed from students participating in the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Champion Project.