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How We Use The 4 Rooms

"In a grade 3/4 classroom one student placed his name in the Room of Confusion prior to class for almost a week. His peers were very concerned and each day sought him out to check in with him to ensure he was included and desperately tried to take his mind off his worries both within the class and outside. Ultimately they wanted school to be a happy and safe place for him and a refuge for the tough issues being dealt with at home. One peer spoke to the teacher about their collective concerns and all worked to support him. Each day he was able to move to the room of Contentment because he felt supported." - Fay Agterhuis, Principal, Point Lonsdale Primary School

Working with children in the classroom

The program seeks to help children understand their experiences, their emotions and feelings; the emotions and feelings of others; how these can change; and the impact their behaviours and words have on others. It provides a common language for a classroom group to describe feelings, emotions and behaviours.

The Faces

There are four faces that represent the Four Rooms, originally developed by IKEA in Sweden, they are central to the creation of a vocabulary of words about emotions and behaviours.

Magnets and Whiteboards

Central to the experience of children using the Four Rooms of Change is the ability to articulate their feelings and emotions. This is done with children as young as Prep, by using a magnet (with their name or face on it) and allowing them to place it on a magnetic whiteboard where the Four Rooms are displayed in a way that reflects their experience.

The Four Rooms of Change gives a context for whole school based discussions e.g. a group of students with their names in the room of Confusion may request the teacher to go through a strategy with them to assist them to solve their problem, or the teacher may notice and touch base to see what is concerning them, or peer mediators may respond. 

Teachers and the Four Rooms

Most importantly The Four Rooms of Change is a reflective tool for teachers. The Rooms operate as a form of classroom barometer. No words or intense dialogue is required to gather feedback from the students. What are the magnets telling me? What do I/we need to do?

Effective teachers use the Rooms and monitor movement patterns of the magnets to see where children are placing themselves throughout the day and which students move or don't move. In this way the Four Rooms program can highlight issues around curriculum delivery e.g. a group of students in Self-Censorship or Confusion may well suggest that there was a problem with the lesson clarity or there is a social/emotional issue at play.

Appreciation / No Putdowns   |   Personal Best   |   Attentive Listening   |   Right to Pass   |   Mutual Respect