From Seed to Glitter

Self-Reg for parents, photo of man and son sitting on the grass together

By Melissa Pinnell

When I started learning about Self-Reg the idea of planting seeds of knowledge aligned well with my journey.  I was starting the journey on my own, so I was able to look at my own regulation but also spread a LOT of seeds along the way. I was able to plant seeds by sharing visuals, running a book club, connecting to our instructional practice, modeling it for others professionally and personally.  My first year I noticed the seeds that had managed to take root and grow, but also many that hadn’t.  There was always celebration when I could start to see seeds growing through behaviours or conversations shifting. It also came with lots of reflecting on why “THIS” seed, why now, and why not at other times.

Self-Reg Havens

Around that time, I first saw a visual of the five Haven look fors and I realized so often those elements were a driving force in when information I shared grew and when it did not.  Safe, Rooted, Capable, Balance, and Trusted; these were five elements that could either feed growth or act as a barrier.  I realized that for me shifting to a Haven journey was my best way forward, Self-Reg became not WHAT I was sharing but HOW.

Embracing a Haven journey, I went from spreading seeds to sprinkling glitter.  Anyone who has been near glitter knows that it has a powerful attraction and seems to multiply and touch anything it has contact with.  Using a Haven approach I was seeing differently; believing in the potential and gifts in everyone; and lending calm and hope to those around me.  I was walking the talk and inviting others to share in my journey, even if they couldn’t see their own.  Over and over, I would hear from adults that they connected to self-reg and not only understood it but they felt it.  The glitter was rubbing off not just on them, but also then transferring to calmer children they worked with and stronger connections with friends and family. 

Creating a Haven, whether it was a specific space or a relationship, started with practical choices.  Working with adults we were considering our own regulation and needs but with time this extended to others, deeper understanding, questioning and thinking about the science and social impacts.  Growth in learning, relationships and connections seemed to happen as a result of everyday interactions. Self-Reg talk like “stressors” or “reframing” began to be used in conversations naturally, and questions of “why do you think we are seeing that” became a norm.     

Glitter is known to reflect light; the more we spread, the more it can reflect back to us.  As we create conditions that make others feel Safe, Balanced, Capable, Trusted and Rooted relationships and connections form which multiply our energy and effort.  

Working with children, parents and adults I have seen how a Haven creates the conditions where growth and learning happens for all.  It creates the space, mental or physical, where there is a cascade of calm shared from one person to the next. It is where possibilities are realized because we see differently and learn to slow down to hear and see more.

Havens 101

Self-Reg Haven 101

Self-Reg Havens 101 is a 5-module Professional Learning Series Course that gives teams a unique opportunity to learn together about Self-Reg Havens and how to build one in educational settings, workplaces and communities.

Also, available for groups. Group access here.


Self-Reg Schools: A Handbook for Educators

Learn how to incorporate Self-Reg into classroom practices and a process of ongoing learning that will help not only your students, but yourself as an educator. Check out our Self-Reg Schools Handbook bookclubs on Facebook.

Contributions on the Self-Reg Community blog page come from various members of our TMC team and folks in our Self-Reg Foundations program.