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Powder Springs Elementary Opens A Regulation Station

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Students enjoy the Regulation Station at Powder Springs Elementary School

When students returned to face-to-face learning last year, educators at Powder Springs Elementary School recognized that their students were having a difficult time with self-regulation. So, the school counselors and a teacher teamed up to create a space—a regulation station—where students could get up and move. This is a place where students could touch and feel in a way that would help them with sensory processing and allow them to identify feelings, role play, and be creative in a space that is open and playful.

The Powder Springs Regulation Station began welcoming students in August 2021 thanks to help from the school community and a Cobb Tank grant. 

The new sensory space pairs with the counselor's "Zones of Regulation" curriculum that helps students identify their emotions using a colored-code chart so students can learn to manage how they respond.

"Through the Zones of Regulation and this schoolwide language, we want students to be able to understand where they are or what zone they are in and what tools they need to get back to being happy and healthy and ready to learn," explained Dr. Beth Ruff, Powder Springs school counselor.

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Ranging from a light show and drumming to watercolors and a sensory path, the Regulation Station includes more than ten different learning experiences. For example, in the hands-on Tactile Sensory Experience, students learn about the elements of art, including texture, pattern, and color. As part of the Body Movement Experience, students explore the elements of dance-related to space, energy, time, and body. 

While in the music-themed experience, the young learners will use elements of music to play various instruments. The students will explore dynamics, rhythm, timbre, and tonality to create beautiful sounds. The experience will help students build skills in self-management as they practice calming strategies to change their physical reactions, such as lowering their heart rates using music. 

"My favorite part is watching how the students' eyes light up as they engage with the experiences. I have seen smiles creep in on the faces of even the most' too cool for school' fifth graders," Dr. Ruff added. "They let their guards down while playing a steady beat in the drumming room, creating 3D art with pool noodles, or hopping down the sensory path. When they leave the space, they take that joy with them back to the classrooms."

Dr. Ruff was recently named Georgia School Counselor Of The Year for her work with students at Powder Springs.

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