By Genesis Oquendo
On January 16th, White Plains High School officially introduced the “Calm Corner” available to students in all grades during their lunch periods. It is a new addition to one of the many systems of support and resources supplied at school.
The Calm Corner is an alternative quiet space to the library provided at school. While the library is a place for students to take a break during their school day, it can often become noisy and chaotic to the extent of overstimulating students. The new Calm Corner looks to assist students in alleviating the stress from sensory overload (when the five senses—hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste—absorb such an overwhelming amount of information that the brain has trouble processing) with the help of the staff. However, the Calm Corner isn’t limited to students feeling overstimulated; it could simply be a space for individuals looking to relax or talk to trusted social workers about their emotional and academic concerns. Mrs. Sileo, a school social worker involved with the Calm Corner, said the space was created “to provide a quiet, supportive environment where students who are in need of some time to reset or manage stressful emotions can do so in the hopes of being able to continue engagement in learning while in classes.”
All the school social workers, psychologists, and guidance counselors are involved with the Calm Corner to provide each student with appropriate resources. In the room itself Ms. Gunther and Ms. Pagliaro, who are social work interns, moderate the tranquil environment and ensure the expectations are being thoroughly followed.
The Calm Corner accommodates the presence of students through its arrangement of furniture where students can either have their own space or comfortably socialize with their peers. Nevertheless, students are expected to maintain a quiet environment by using their headphones or earbuds.
The room itself is strategically located in G104 where there’s minimal hall “traffic” or noise, providing a peaceful ambiance. The students making use of the room are also provided with mindfulness activities to distract them from anxiety-inducing thoughts. The goal of providing mindfulness activities to students is to establish a pattern, specific to that student, beneficial in the process of coping with stress and anxiety.
Students looking for a quiet outlet during their lunch period can find the Calm Corner located in room G104 with Mrs. Sileo, Ms. Gunther, and Ms. Pagliaro.