A Sensory Room Becomes A Reality For Student Connection
A focus on technological innovation has always been a priority for Pinders Primary School. Teachers are trained yearly on how to use Lumio software and SMART panels to make learning dynamic and fast-paced for their students.
This year, the school’s tech innovation stemmed from the value Pinders places on inclusion.
Inclusion is a big deal at Pinders Primary School. They have a significant number of students with special needs requirements - higher even than the national average.
Last year, staff found that sensory processing issues in a few of their students were creating a significant barrier between the students and their ability to be successful in the classroom and in social settings.
So, Pinders Primary staff created a safe space influenced by best practices in special needs therapy, with cutting edge, integrated technology as the driving force behind the design. They call it their “sensory room.”
He treats it like home, which is what I want, which is more than I could have ever hoped for, even. For him to feel that comfortable in a school environment.
Hassan's Mother, Parent - Pinders Primary School
What’s A Sensory Room?
As the name suggests, the sensory room’s goal is to create a therapeutic environment for students with sensory processing issues. Research suggests that creating sensory environments, especially for autistic children, is a great strategy for learning how to manage stress and practice self-regulating.
When the staff at Pinders Primary decided to move forward with the idea, they knew they would have to get creative with the location because every classroom in the building was occupied.
Their solution? To convert an administrative office into the sensory room they had designed.
The room features an interactive display, light displays, and calming sounds that engage students’ senses. Students are encouraged to play freely in the room and are allowed to frequent it as needed.
The room plays a huge part in achieving the larger goal of including special needs students in the mainstream classroom.
“The outcome is those children are able to stay at school all day in a mainstream setting,” said Lorna Kemplay, headteacher at Pinders Primary. “At this point in time, it is what has allowed them to stay with their peer group.”
Watching Students Thrive
Jordina Darling’s son Ben is an autistic student at Pinders. Ben was previously at a different school site and struggled to progress in his mainstream classrooms.
Jordina is amazed at the progress she’s seen in her six-year-old son since his transfer to Pinders.
“I thought maybe when he's 10 he would be able to tell me ‘This is the color I like. This is the food I like. This is a program I enjoy,’” she said. “But we're there now and that's amazing to me.”
She attributes much of her son’s growth to the dedicated staff at Pinders Primary and the great lengths they’ve gone to integrate him into the social settings that she’s always wanted for him.
But more than anything, Jordina is thankful that being at Pinders Primary has given Ben the tools to be able to cope with change, a life skill she thought he might never develop.
“I think one thing people expect is that children with autism cannot change and they can't be malleable and Ben is just totally showing us that he can,” she said. “He is doing so much better than we ever thought he could, and now we are just totally shown up. He is just so capable.”
Learn how SMART helps Pinders Primary make #ConnectionsThatMatter
Inclusion is a driving value at Pinders Primary School. Students are encouraged to connect with their peers in academic and social settings.
Pinders Primary School
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Pinders Primary School is a happy, inclusive and stimulating environment for children from nursery school through Year 6. All children experience a wide curriculum that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary for academic success.
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