What’s a Chill Corner and What’s for Snack?
Thoughts From Club 1458
The kids who come to Club 1458 are at an in-between age, where they are no longer small children who need lots of direction, but also aren’t yet old enough to participate in teen, self-directed programs. That’s why Club 1458’s program is designed to help kids learn the social emotional skills they need to navigate their world and find their voice.
One of the tools we offer to help kids with this is the “Chill Corner”. It is aptly named for what it does: offers kids a different environment when they need a break or a change of scene. What’s in our Chill Corner and where is it? We took a corner of our office (that you can’t see from the door) to create this private space, and outfitted it with yoga mats, blankets, pillows, magazines, books, games, and a CD with relaxing music. On any given day, you might find one kid there, cuddled up in the blankets and pillows, reading. Or you might find a small group rearranging all the seating to their liking, and then settling in to do homework together. It’s small enough so that it doesn’t feel empty and big, yet big enough that a small group can use it comfortably. All the “furniture” can be moved and arranged for what we call “maximum chill comfort”.
The Chill Corner is one of the newest additions to Club 1458. One of the main perks of our smaller afterschool program is that our teachers have time to give individual kids their ear to talk through situations. Our philosophy is to help the kids problem solve, instead of just offering up solutions. A teacher might say, “I understand that this happened, what can you do about it?” Or “What could you do to feel better about this?”
Kids here are really encouraged to advocate for themselves when they need something. The other day, one came into my office and asked if we could get broccoli for snack sometime. Just so happens that our veggie supplier was there that day, so it was easy to say yes: a great example of how to encourage kids to ask for what they need and show them how they can make themselves heard by asking in the right way.
Club 1458’s spaces are set up so it’s clear what each space is for. We find that offers our kids some structure and security, but also the freedom to make choices. The Middle School lounge is an older kids only hang-out spot, which is important in a program with a large age range. The living room has couches and comfy things in it, providing space for relaxing and fun activities. For those times there is homework, we have a separate work area. We want the kids to know that those spaces will be there when they need them, and that they can actively figure out what they need and choose a place to spend their time.
The bottom line: Club 1458 – complete with Chill Corner and broccoli for snack – is set up so our kids know, “I can look around and find the answers myself, and my teachers are here to help guide me when I need them.”
Stay tuned for more from Club 1458.