Here is our peace table in our schoolroom!
We use our peace table for promoting mindfulness, solving conflicts and calming down when we get upset. Our peace table contains: on top our peace basket and a copy of "peaceful piggy meditation".
Our peace basket contains:
a copy of "the peace rose"
a copy of "calm down time"
a laminated finger maze
A laminated peace card (from the peace table card set from Montessoriprintshop.com)
Our starry night jar ( original idea from Chasing Cheerios )
A seashell for listening to the ocean
our peace rose (fake rose lol )
The bottom shelf of our table contains:
a little basket with our peace table cards
our copy of "mindful movements"
a mini Chinese gong to signal the start of mediation
I was asked on one of my forums that I frequent to explain how we use our peace table so I am copying and adding that post in here for an explanation of how WE use our peace table.
OK so the idea of the peace table is a Montessori based idea but we have added some of our own spin to it as well. Being a family with an ASD kiddo and me being ASD myself and both of us having anxiety issues we needed some more ideas for adding mindfulness to our lives. Also having soon to be 4 boys close in age we needed better methods for conflict resolution so we could teach our kids better ways to deal with negative feelings and fights. Our table works in different ways depending on the situation.
We try and include daily meditation into our routine. This really helps ASD people to learn to calm the craziness that can happen in our heads especially for those of use with severe sensory issues like DS1 and myself. We go to our rug and cushion basket and get our meditation cushions plop them down in front of the table get our meditation pebbles (we each have our own set of 4) and then I will start our guided meditation CD that came with our mindfulness book http://www.amazon.com/Planting-Seeds-Practicing-Mindfulness-Children/dp/1935209809/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1348798848&sr=8-2&keywords=mindful+movements I HIGHLY recommend this book!!!!! I really cannot recommend it enough actually :lol: Thich Nhat Hanh is a fantastic writer who cares very deeply in his quest to bring mindfulness to the children of the world! I own almost all of his books and they are all extremely well written and useful especially when you start out and have no clue what you are doing :lol: anyhow back to the story ......... we hit our mini gong to symbolize the start of meditation and we work through it all leaving us all feeling very relaxed and fresh. I make it very well known to the kids that they can do this anytime they want as there is no overdoing meditation IMHO.
Calming the ickies:
I'll be blunt here. My son is ASD and we definitely have days that can be BAD. Days where his anxiety is through the roof and he is an emotional mess. Days where my heart breaks because I have to see my baby coming apart at his seams. BUT and a huge BUT our peace table has given us more hope that we can overcome this together. As soon as I notice it coming I'll say something like hey T I think we need to take a visit to the peace table. I make it very clear in all forms that this is NOT punishment ever no matter the situation. I want the kids to want to go to the table when they feel they need to and I want them to view it as a safe place where they can calm down and escape whatever ickies are creeping in. So during a breakdown we go to our table and the first thing we usually do is shake our starry night jar really hard and get all the thoughts racing wildly around the globe. I will tell T this is your mind right now, full of thoughts racing around with no rhyme or reason. He will then put the jar down on the table or floor and we will take deep breaths and watch closely as the stars or "thoughts" start to all slow down and settle and the jar becomes clear of thoughts. This is our mind when we practice mindfulness and we can settle all our thoughts and calm down our ickies so our minds can be clear. At this point he is usually calm enough to go onto the next step of the seashell. He will usually go ahead and grab the seashell and listen closely to see if he can hear the ocean. He will then usually trace the finger maze and read the calm down time book. By the end of the process (10 min or so total) he is usually calmed all the way down and crisis is adverted. On a bad day where meds are off or he is over stimulated or whatever he may have to do this over and over again through the day but each time it does work to calm him back down.
If we have a fight we go to our peace table. Any fight that results in screaming hitting or just no foreseeable end usually ends up in a group trip to the peace table. Once there If we need to we re-read the peace rose book or just go right onto the peace rose activity. What we do is first calm them down. I try and do this by putting on calm music from our meditation cd and reading one of the tables cards or books to grab their attention. Once we are calm enough to talk I will pass the rose to one of the children. If I feel in the fight there was an aggressor and a victim I will give the victim the rose first. He who has the rose talks everyone else must remain silent while the rose holder expresses why he is upset and how he feels about the situation that transpired. Once the first child has had their chance to speak they pass the rose to the other child who then gets to say their feelings and thoughts on the matter. This teaches them to listen to each other and try and understand how each feels which is very important in general but even more so when a child has ASD and great difficulty in relating to the emotions of others. It is my hopes that this method will really help them to learn to talk out disagreements and be more mindful of the feelings and boundaries of the people around them. After both parties have talked mom gets the rose and we think of ways together that the situation could have been handled differently. I will take ideas from each kiddo and we will talk it over passing the rose if need be. Once a resolution has been found we go back to what we were doing hopefully a bit more aware of how to treat each other.
So that is pretty much it and how we use our peace table. :) I hope that helps out some people and as always I am open to more suggestions as we love new ideas to add in or things to learn!