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With the publication of Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators, co-written by Susan Hopkins and Stuart Shanker, many educators quickly embraced the idea of a Self-Reg Haven, a place where everyone feels safe in every way: physically, emotionally, socially and culturally.  In the book, Stuart and Susan laid out several paths and various steps towards building a haven. Ideas from books are one thing, but people still often wonder, ‘What does this look like in real. Life. Hence the theme of SRSS 2022: Nurturing Self-Reg Havens: Hopes Hurdles and Hows.

 In this Self-Reg talk, from SRSS 2022, social worker and school counsellor, Joel Gunzburg provides a great window into his Self-Reg Haven journey at Sandy Spring Friends school, in Ashton-Sandy Spring, Maryland. Joel shares how his early reading about Self-Reg affirmed, and provided scientific explanations of many things he’d already believed and practiced. He also outlines some of the early steps he took to help his school community understand and embrace the Self-Reg Haven journey. One of his first steps was to use the Self-Reg lens to focus on fostering a sense of belonging, something that has long been a shared goal at his school.

“The way we look at belonging is very similar to the way Stuart describes what you would see in a haven. How do we create that on a consistent basis, that we can depend on? As I set out,…I thought two things were important. One is that we have to deliver content that creates a common language throughout the school, that goes for teachers, parents and student. And as a school, we created this office of institutional equity, justice and belonging. That’s instead of using the words, diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s great to be included, but inclusion only goes so far. But it’s so much different when you have a sense of belonging and you belong somewhere.”

You can watch Joel’s full Self-Reg Talk below.

Additional Learning about Creating a Haven:

Course: Havens 101

Blog: Self-Reg Havens

Blog: The Day I Knew I Found a Self-Reg Haven

Blog: The Self-Reg View of: Schools as :Self-Reg Havens”

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