Infants, toddlers and preschoolers all need somewhere within the classroom setting where they can relax and have some time away from the busier and louder areas of the classroom. Creating a ‘Cosy Corner’ or a ‘Quiet Space’ is a great way to ensure the children have somewhere to go when they need to have some quiet time to themselves. If a child is upset or simply overwhelmed they may not yet have the skills to regulate emotions on their own. Some children like to be soothed by an adult with some hugs or cuddles and others may prefer to go off to soothe themselves. Self-soothing is a great skill for young children to learn. If the children have an quiet area, such as a Cosy Corner, they will utilise it to calm down, relax and soothe themselves, before coming back to rejoin the bigger group.
Also note that under the 2016 regulations you are required to have a cosy area where a child can rest or sleep if tired or feeling unwell. Many services have been marked non-compliant because their cosy areas are not cosy enough!
How To Create A Cosy Corner In Your Early Years Setting
A Cosy Corner is very easy to set up. You can use items that you already have in your setting including floor mats, books, shelves etc. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Choose an area in your setting that is away from the main class room area and any doors and toilets (if possible).
- Set out bookshelves on either side so that children can come in and out easily.
- Place a shoe basket beside the entrance so that the children can take their shoes off before going in.
- Place things such as floor mats, a cosy rug, bean bags, cushions, pillows, blankets or a small sofa/chair in the area
- Fill the bookshelves with books so that the children can do some reading while exploring the area. Try to include some ‘feelings books’ such as Tracy Moroney’s Feelings Book Series or The Feelings Book by Todd Parr.
- Hang some pictures on the walls above. Include pictures of feelings (sad, happy, angry, jealous, lonely, excited etc.) and relaxation exercises (belly or balloon breathing, stretching exercises etc.). See Mindfulness Post for more information on relaxation techniques
- Be sure that the area is visible to teachers
- It is important to note that this area is not to be used as a ‘Time Out’.
- Teach the children how to use the area ahead of time. For example, ‘Remove Shoes’, ‘One/Two at a time’.
Review Your Cosy Corner Regularly
Once you have your Cosy Corner up and running be sure to review the area on a regular basis. Swap out the books every couple of days or weeks to keep the children interested. Add a new teddy or different shaped pillow after a certain period. Change up the pictures on the walls so that children get different ideas of things to do. The main thing is to make sure that it continually serves its purpose of being a place where the children can relax away from the busier area of the classroom and of course that it is fun for the children!