Fifty years and counting at Craig Elementary School in the Parkway School District in St. Louis County. On a good day it’s calm and peaceful in classrooms, but it should come as no surprise that teaching comes with built in stress.
“Teaching can be a stressful job because we don’t just take our own stress,” said first grade teacher Cindy Deane. “We take on the stress and trauma our children are dealing with as well in our classrooms.”
Sometimes Deane and her teaching colleagues need a minute. When it’s time to regroup, Craig teachers can walk down the hallway to Room 505.
“This used to be a closet, but we didn’t want to call it the Calming Closet,” said Deane. “So we figured we would call it the Calming Cove.”
Inside the closet-turned-cove are scented candles, a rocking chair, pillows, and a happy light that simulates sunlight. Teachers can retreat to the Calming Cove so that a bad day doesn’t get worse.
“Sometimes you can’t even control the stress in your life that’s happening, but it’s just important to acknowledge that and take time for yourself,” said Deane. “I’ve definitely used it a few times this year. It’s helped me just to get away from everything and take a moment for myself, even if it’s one or two minutes, just sitting in her relaxing.”
Craig Elementary counselor Lindsey Knowles said this is the first year the school tried the Calming Cove. She said the cove has been a hit with teachers.
“Just knowing there’s a place they can go if they’re feeling upset or extra stressed about something has been a big stress relief for them,” said Knowles. “It’s something that teachers at any school could benefit from and would be excited to have.”