To ensure that all students at Prairie Rose receive an equitable experience when learning, Madison created the Wellness Room, which serves the purpose of regulating a student's stress response system so they are better able to learn in the classroom.
Within the room are scientifically supported tools that have been proven to regulate the brain. Each student responds differently to each regulation activity, so she uses a heart rate monitor to determine if the activity they are doing is having a positive effect on their autonomic nervous system in order to move them to a portion of the brain where they can learn.
“We are proactively helping our students be in a place within their brains, no matter their experiences outside of our walls, that is optimal for learning. The Wellness Room in and of itself is a way to ensure that all students are getting an equitable experience when learning. We know that fair is not always equal and our students who have negative experiences or trauma come to our buildings with strikes already against them. They are predisposed to potentially having difficulties throughout their learning experience at no fault of their own. If we can provide a way to help them overcome these experiences here at school, learning becomes an equitable experience for all.” – Madison Knodel, School Psychologist
Prior to the creation of the Wellness Room, Prairie Rose averaged 11.5 office discipline referrals per month. Since the creation of the Wellness Room, that has dropped down to 4 office discipline referrals per month. The heart rate data also shows that, on average, students are leaving the Wellness Room with a more regulated heart rate than when they arrived.
With the Unconventional Thinking in Teaching grant, Madison plans to buy self-regulation tools for each of the classrooms at Prairie Rose Elementary to allow students to use tools throughout the day, without needing to leave the classroom.