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From the Classroom: Wellness Learning Center at Cummings Elementary

Counselor standing in Cummins Wellness Center

Meet Bonnie Rosenthal! Bonnie works in the Wellness Learning Center (WLC) at Cummings Elementary as the Behavior Resource Teacher.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but each day students in classrooms just like Ms. Rosenthal’s gain the support they need to thrive in school. Learn more about the work happening in our schools by both staff and students directly from our educators: today, Bonnie shares about the ways staff and students work together to create a safe and welcome place for all to successfully learn.

Wellness Learning Center 

Q: What is the purpose of the Wellness Learning Center? 

A: The overall goal of the WLC is to honor emotions, give students the vocabulary to express those emotions, and provide a safe, quiet space to practice self-regulation skills.

Q: Can you walk us through the process of the WLC? From the point when a student walks through the door to when they leave?

A: Each visit to the WLC follows a distinct process: 

  1. Students enter the WLC with a pass – either for regularly scheduled visits or what we call “flexible visits.” 
  2. Students remove their shoes and proceed to the check in desk where they are greeted by a supportive adult and asked to reflect on their emotional state using the large “Mood Meter.” 
  3. Using a pictorial menu, students choose a self-regulation station.
  4. Students are quietly coached to select a station they feel will help them to remain at or return to baseline. 
  5. Students visit two stations for 5-minutes each and are gently reminded when their time is up.
  6. When finished, students return to the attendant desk and check out. 
  7. They are asked about their emotional state as they exit.

Q: On average, how many students spend time in the WLC each day? 

A: This is a space available to all students here at Cummings. On average, 35 students visit each day and on a monthly basis, just over 21 percent of the student body visits the WLC. 

Q: On average, how long does each student spend in the WLC per visit?

A: On average, students spend approximately 15 minutes from time of check-in to check-out with the attendant.

Q: How are students “referred” to spending time in the WLC? 

A: There are three types of WLC visits: 

  1. Teacher Referred
  2. Teacher Requested
  3. Student Requested. 

Any staff member may refer a student. Additionally, the WLC is an incentivized location within our school where students may come for recognition of following our schoolwide expectations or for a job well done. We love celebrating student success! 

Q: What type of activities do students do during their time in the WLC? 

A: Students can access a variety of stations in which to practice self-regulation skills. Each station has a specific sensory skill as a focus with the rationale posted. Stations include: 

  • Dark space (tent)
  • Movement/Yoga
  • Art Station
  • Fidget Station
  • Sand Tray
  • Rocking Chair
  • Library with sensory books/emotion books

Materials are rotated from time to time to provide access to new sensory experiences. 


Wellness Learning Center outcomes

Q: From the beginning of the year to now, have you seen growth in your students who have routinely visited the WLC? If so, how? 

A: We are very excited about the growth of our students. Teachers report students returning to class more regulated and ready to learn. Many students have “graduated” from scheduled visits to visits as needed/desired, to being able to self-regulate in the classroom by accessing the classroom Calming Corner. 

Because of the intentionality of our practices in providing a structured environment with predictable routines and procedures, students feel comfortable accessing the space and are making measurable gains in self-sufficiency. Some of our graduates have introduced other students and adults to the WLC, modeling expectations and showing them how to access the WLC tools. It’s wonderful to see students taking ownership of this space! 

Here are some comments from teachers regarding student growth: 

  • Awareness of time and keeping of routines (knowledge of when it is their turn for WLC.)
  • Utilizing classroom Calming Corner when it is not their WLC time and they realize they need to calm down.
  • Ability to deal with changes in schedule without issues.
  • Using various techniques (breathing, counting, walking away, squeezing fist, etc.) when encountering a problem or issue.


Q: How do all students and staff in the school benefit from having this as part of your school environment, even if they don’t regularly visit the WLC? 

A: The goal of the WLC is to teach students to independently manage their emotions. Students are taught to name their emotions, use coping strategies, reflect, and then return to class. Students and staff become empowered to handle their stress and increase their resiliency, creating a school environment with fewer disruptions, more regulated students and adults, and improved access to learning for students.

When people have their basic needs met and are taught the skills to regulate and shift their emotional state, they have the power to achieve the best version of themselves. We all benefit by having access to a more regulated school community.

Thank you Bonnie, Cummings Elementary, and everyone in the SKPS community who continue to work to support the  overall social and emotional wellbeing for all students and staff.