Calm is a beautiful thing. If you’ve ever walked into a Montessori classroom, you’ll notice how peaceful it is, with children learning, exploring and creating to their heart’s content. That’s not to say that these same children don’t get stressed, frustrated, anxious, fearful and angry. They do. But one of the aims of a Montessori learning environment is to help children translate their emotions into words.
One of the techniques that can be used to help children calm themselves down when they’re feeling overwhelmed by their emotions is a Calming Jar. The jar, filled with glitter, has the same hypnotic effect as a snow globe and acts as a distraction for children who feel out of control in the moment. The movement of the glitter inside the jar captures the attention of the child and helps to clear the mind of all thoughts that feed the emotion in question. A clear mind aids relaxation and elicits calm.
In no way is the calming jar a punishment – it’s an ‘emotion management’ technique that can be used by anyone, even adults; anytime, anywhere. Maria Montessori believed all emotions to be important even those typically negative. Harnessing these emotions and learning to articulate them leads to a greater self-awareness.
How to make a calming jar: Add warm water to your jar or bottle until it reaches around a third of the way up. Add the glitter glue and stir until it combined with the water. Add around 3 drops of food colour and stir. Pour in the glitter! Top up your jar with the rest of the warm water, until it is almost full.