It may be dubbed the “Well Nest” or the “Water Cooler” but whatever they’re named, wellness rooms are bringing a sense of calm to kids across the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). “A campus wellness room staffed with a qualified, caring wellness teacher creates an immediate response to students’ social-emotional needs,” said Dr. Julianne Reynoso, PUSD’s Assistant Superintendent, Student Wellness and Support Services. “These rooms invite students to relax for a short time and reflect on how to improve school interactions.” PUSD schools are now using existing spaces to create dedicated wellness areas that can address students’ needs in a safe, almost spa-like space. Some rooms include aromatherapy, soothing sounds, calm lighting, kinetic sand, slime, fidget toys, lemon water, bean bag chairs and murals. All are staffed by an experienced Response to Intervention (RTI) teacher or behavior specialist.
While PUSD has provided wellness professionals at all sites for years, previously, calm rooms were also used for discipline – the current spaces are not. No one gets “in trouble” in the wellness room. Some PUSD students are still experiencing after-effects of the pandemic such as anxiety, frustration, food and housing insecurities, and grief.