What is it, and what is its purpose?
At the beginning of each day all the students and staff gather in a circle to do a check-in. A laminated chart with fuzzies that are numbered from 1-10 (1 being low) is used to allow the students to tell how they are feeling. Each person gets a chance to say “I feel like a (chooses a number) because... They may include some details and a strategy they may try and use to help them be successful at school that day. If others around the circle would like to ask a question or make a comment they put their thumb up. The person who is doing their check-in chooses two people for feedback on their check-in.
Check-in has more than one purpose. The first thing it does is allow for the adults in the program to know how the students are feeling that day. This gives us a chance to use pro-active strategies to help support the students. It also helps students learn to identify their own feelings based on what is happening in their lives and how they feel. With the support and ideas from others in the group, the students are often motivated to self-regulate. Finally, the check-in table allows for the staff in the program to “frontload” the students on how their day will look. It offers a chance for some conversation and support to take place even before the day starts. It is a very positive and pro-active way to start the day.
Check in can be done at home with your child in the morning, and in the evening. A great place to do a check-in is at the table during meal times. This will give you opportunities to talk to your child about how they are feeling and give them support to use the strategies their being taught to self-regulate. It is also a great opportunity to share how you are feeling and what you are going to do to have a good day. Emotions are a real part of our life and we want to teach the students that everyone has emotions, it is how we deal with them and regulate them that makes us successful.