The Day I Knew That I Found A Self-Reg Haven

The Day I Knew That I Found A Self-Reg Haven

Since entering Rousseau School, I’ve felt as though I’ve walked into a Self-Reg Haven. It’s hard to describe what makes it that way. 

  • Maybe it’s the fact that the hallways are always quiet.
  • Maybe it’s the absence of yelling.
  • Maybe it’s the camaraderie that you see between staff and students.
  • Maybe it’s the laughter and joy that you hear outside on the playground and inside the classrooms.
  • Maybe it’s the sign that greets you on the front door: starting your visit to the school with a positive message.

Or maybe it’s something different altogether. Last week though, I knew without a doubt, that I was teaching in a Self-Reg Haven.

I still remember the moment it happened. It was the beginning of the second nutrition break, and I was sitting in the staffroom with some other teachers. We were chatting, when all of a sudden, one teacher said, “There’s a child in the closet!” What? To the left of the door, there is a small closet, and sure enough, if you looked closely, you could see a child standing inside. One of the teachers recognized the child and called out his name. He replied, and opened the closet door. He then told us why he was hiding in the closet instead of going outside for recess: he felt as though he “didn’t have any friends.” What I noticed right away is that every person in the staffroom offered to walk with him outside and help him find a place to play and some people that would make him happy.

  • Nobody dismissed his feelings.
  • Nobody spoke harshly to him.
  • Nobody suggested that he go to the office.
  • And absolutely nobody wanted to punish him for hiding in the closet.

The Day I Knew That I Found a Self-Reg HavenEvery person wanted to support this child and help him feel better. Every person was willing to give up part of his/her lunchtime to help a student that needed it. This child, like every child in this school, is loved … and this child, like every child in this school, knows it. There’s something to be said for these kinds of relationships. 

As I sat in the staffroom on that day, I realized, I have never heard an educator here speaking negatively about a child. There are always discussions around …

  • what else do our students need?
  • how can we better support them?
  • what is causing them stress?
  • how can we reduce these stressors?

Punishment is never the ultimate goal and children are always seen through an asset lens. Reflecting now, I think that this helps create the makings of a Self-Reg HavenWhat do you think? How do we create these “havens” in all school environments? Everybody deserves to feel the safety, happiness, and sense of calm that comes from an environment such as this one.

Aviva Dunsiger has been the Portal Plus Moderator for a year now and completed the Foundations 1 Certification Program. She has taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and enjoys blogging about her teaching and learning experiences. She blogs professionally on her blog, Living Avivaloca. Aviva is excited to contribute a monthly post on The MEHRIT Centre Blog.

By | 2018-01-24T16:24:26+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|


  1. susan hopkins May 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Dear Aviva, I just read your latest Self-Reg blog and just want to yell off rooftops: YES!! How wonderful for the students, how wonderful for the staff, and how wonderful for you. Let’s nurture Self-Reg Havens everywhere!!

    • Aviva Dunsiger May 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Susan! I agree with you about the need to nurture these Self-Reg Havens everywhere. It’s hard to describe exactly what they’re like, but when you’ve found one, you definitely know. I would love to hear other people’s stories about Self-Reg Havens.


  2. Andrea Topic May 3, 2017 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Such a wonderful read! This would be very impactful to share with other teachers and adults working with children in the all school boards. Way to go Rousseau!

    Andrea Topic, RECE, BECS

    • Aviva Dunsiger May 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Andrea! I’m definitely very fortunate to work at such a wonderful school, and I know that I’ve learned a lot from being a part of it. Sharing about these Self-Reg Havens would be such a great thing to do. I hope others have these kinds of stories to share.


  3. Rebecca Skudra May 31, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Thanks Aviva! It is all about support the needs of the child in a calm, resourceful and loving manner! Glad to hear how well it is all going!

    • Aviva Dunsiger May 31, 2017 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Rebecca! It’s great to be a part of a Self-Reg Haven, where everyone responded to a “child in the closet” in the same kind, loving, supportive way. There’s something special about this!


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