A contribution from a Saskatoon charitable organization is helping to support student learning at Caswell Community School.
The school has been able to develop a sensory room thanks to a $2,200 contribution from Angels & Friends Foundation, an organization that supports children with intellectual disabilities.
A sensory room is a calming environment that prepares students, whether independently or with staff assistance, for their day of learning. The room also provides a place for sensory breaks throughout the school day.
“Many of our students who arrive at school require additional supports to prepare themselves for a day of learning," said Vice-Principal Dayna Laturnus. "These students benefit from engaging in body/sensory break routines to help regulate their emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Having access to these opportunities increases a student’s ability to fully engage in learning throughout the school day. Some students benefit from participating in two or more body breaks within a school day.
"Throughout the course of the day numerous students have the opportunity to engage in scheduled sensory breaks with an educational assistant who is able to utilize the equipment according to student need. This may involve students moving through various stations, with assistance or independently, to help prepare themselves for a day of learning."
The use of a sensory room provides students with an opportunity to engage in activities that are personalized to meet their sensory input needs. As a result, students are more focused mentally and physically and are better prepared for learning and interacting with others. Approximately 10 per cent or more of Caswell students from kindergarten to Grade 8 engage in sensory breaks outside of the classroom using the body break room on a consistent basis.
"When we got the application from Caswell School that was an easy yes for us," said Brad Schiele, the foundation's chair. "It takes initiative above and beyond to provide a sensory room, so all children can learn in an inclusive environment. My hat is off to the Caswell School team and staff who reached out to us. We are here to help the school and help the community and create inclusive environments for all kids in Saskatchewan."
Equipment purchased through the foundation's grant includes items such as a SqUoosh chair, mini trampoline, noise-cancelling headphones, theraputty, weighted blankets, body socks, peapod, play tunnel, physio roll, and MegaScoot.
A school assembly held May 29 provided an opportunity for all students to learn about the sensory room and how it benefits their school and fellow classmates. It was also a chance to show appreciation for the contribution from Angels & Friends.