Brain-Based Regulation Bins

Grant Applicant
Jennifer Kavanagh
Grant Co-applicants
Jess Darkenwald
School Site
Kings Beach Elementary
Grant Category
Life Skills & Health
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

According to the CDC, about two-thirds of all children will experience some kind of adverse childhood event (ACE), or in other words, will be affected by childhood trauma. An ACE decreases a child’s neurological ability to self-regulate, through no fault of their own. Recent research shows that children (and adults) must regulate themselves at a basic level before being able to form relationships or learn. With the current global pandemic disrupting daily life, causing extreme stress and fear, new grief, and increased rates of domestic violence, the projected ACE scores of children are, dishearteningly, projected to rise even more. This will lead to a greater need for children to have help regulating in the classroom, so that they then may learn.  It is more important now than ever that teachers have the resources to help students learn to do that regulation. 

The Brain-Based Regulation Bins will allow teachers to create spaces where students can take breaks, self-regulate through a variety of calming somatosensory inputs, and then have the chance to connect with their instructor, their peers, and the curriculum. Each bin has materials that provide regulation through a variety of neuroscience-based activities. For example, squishy balls, yoga cards, coloring pages, and scratch sheets allow for rhythmic, repetitive motions; tactile grounding comes from weighted blankets, textured stuffed animals, and putty; and soothing visual input comes from kaleidoscopes and bubblers. All of these materials were suggested during presentations on regulation at the Trauma Informed Schools Conference (TISC) Fall 2019. 

Students will be able to spend 5-15 minutes, depending on their needs, using these materials to feel regulated and safe in the classroom. These kinds of activities will soothe the parts of the brain that inhibit learning and connection when a student is feeling distress. After a short break, students are far more likely to be able to communicate with an instructor, focus on a lesson, or even just control their body--all desirable outcomes in our school.


Benefits of Program (10 points)

Due to the global nature of the current crisis, nearly all students will likely need help with physical and emotional self-regulation in the coming several years. Researchers found that children who survived Hurricane Katrina experienced PTSD at rates as high as those found in soldiers, and for some even seven years after the event. While the COVID crisis is a different kind of event, it is nonetheless traumatic for most of the country. Additionally, even for those children that come to school with tools for self-regulation, the bins would provide additional materials for support and soothing. Likely, every child in the school will access them at some point. 


Success of Program (10 points)

We would define the grant’s success by consistent use and availability across classrooms. Our vision is that each classroom has a “peace corner” where students can access the Regulation Bins when they are too overwhelmed to learn or interact with peers. Students then will have access to regulation accessories that restore equilibrium. This in turn should lead to a decrease in classroom conflict and teacher and/or administrative discipline, as well as an increase in student productivity and positive classroom/school climate.  


Implementation (10 points)

The grant will be implemented day 1 of the 2020-2021 school year (or the first day students return to physical classrooms during that school year). The bins will be available in every classroom, every day, all day long. 


Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

This grant is meant to supply every classroom school-wide. 


The grant is almost entirely sustainable. The only consumables are coloring pages, scratch sheets, and lavender spray. Teachers will be able to make copies of the coloring pages at school, using the books as master copies. The scratch sheets and lavender spray can be bought again with classroom funds in the future. The other materials are long-lasting and non-consumable.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$8263 - SEE ATTACHED LIST-1 list per classroom x
Other funding sources

When our district’s schools closed to comply with state COVID19 prevention measures, we sent home lots of non-consumable curriculum, as well as hundreds of chromebooks and iPads. At this point we can assume that our site budget is going to be used to recover many of these items, in addition to a variety of unforeseen needs related to the pandemic. Our PTO budget will probably be smaller, due to the current economic downturn. At this point, Excellence in Ed is a resource we are grateful for as we try to support our students’ return to school after this crisis.


The budget is based off the Amazon Wishlist attached. The wish list reflects 1 complete kit, costing $413.14. One kit is needed in each contained classroom, including enrichment classrooms (20 total). Shipping is estimated based off Amazon's shipping policy.