One of the Grade 2 English classes at Our Lady of the Rosary is developing tool kits in order to allow young people to more concisely express their emotions in order to facilitate their own learning.
“My Grade 2 class is doing their exhibition of learning,” Grade 2 teacher Jessica McMillan said. “For the past few months, we have been studying self-regulation in children. They have made these break boxes with different tools. They bought some and they made some of the items. What they do is help the children regulate high emotions and get back to a zone where they can learn.”
The project is based on studies showing that children often have difficulties expressing their emotions.
“This is based off of the zones of regulation program,” McMillan said. “Students use these zones of regulation to express their feelings and it allows us to know when they are ready to learn and when they are not.”
McMillan’s class is one of the many classes that are currently piloting this form of education.
“My students have already started piloting it within our classroom,” McMillan said. “The different tools allow them to go from being angry or upset, back to where they are ready to learn. We find that students are coming in and are not really equipped with the words to tell us how they are feeling and it almost makes them more frustrated. Having simple vocabulary like ‘I’m feeling red’ or ‘I’m feeling blue’ allows us to help them with tools to make them feel like they can learn.”
The program extends beyond just Grade 2 students.
“From Pre-K all the way up to high school is using it,” McMillan said. “The high schoolers are using more advanced vocabulary.”
McMillan has been very impressed with the success of this program.
“I am speechless,” she said. “I am so impressed with these seven- and eight-year-olds expressing their emotions as well as the way they are helping other kids express their emotions. They have been going home and building these tools at home and what used to be toys are now tools.”