ILES Adds Sensory Spaces

ILES Adds Sensory Spaces
Posted on 08/29/2022
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On the heels of the ILMS Sensory Room success, Indian Lake Elementary School is now offering a similar space. 

Students are already using the new ILES Sensory Room, which is located in an interior instructional space in the 3rd/4th grade pod and has two very different sides. 

ILES Assistant Principal Pam Scarpella says, “Anyone can use the room, either side, if they’re having a stressful day or they just need a break. We are seeing more and more students who have special education or mental health needs who can benefit and reset in this type of environment.”

The first side is a traditional sensory room. It offers a quiet, calming space featuring soothing music, dimmed lighting, a bubble tube to watch, squishy tile floor mats to push, a tent, coloring pages and more activities to give students a brief escape from the many sensory inputs of school. 

By contrast, the other side of the sensory room is a space meant for activity and letting go of pent-up energy. Mats line the walls and floors. There’s a punching bag and a mini trampoline. 

Scarpella explains, “We made two distinct sides to accommodate two types of behaviors. Sometimes some students need quiet to reset. Other times students need a chance to release frustrations in a more physical, but safe manner. Here, they have both. And they can move from one space to another, if needed.”

ILES teachers, school psychologists and administrators were very deliberate in their thought process and design of the space, Scarpella adds. They used federal ESSR money to pay for supplies and special sensory equipment which can be rotated for frequent visitors. 

Teachers gauge the need for students to be able to spend time in the ILES Sensory Room. All students using the sensory spaces will be supervised by an adult; either an aide, guidance counselor or Scarpella, herself. Timers are used to make sure children have a chance to relax, but get back to class in an appropriate span of time.
ILHS administrators are also looking at the feasibility of adding a sensory room. ILMS created a sensory room for students this past spring.