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Cazenovia, NY: 2 elem. schools add sensory rooms, flexible seating, 'cozy corners' to "destress"

Sept 10, 2018, Syracuse (NY) News Eagle: Fab Labs, sensory classrooms new to Cazenovia schools … Hoping to introduce a new, innovative way of learning with more hands-on, sensory-driven activities and new technologies, Cazenovia has added two new sensory classrooms and two new Fab Labs to the district. According to Matt Erwin, director of facilities at the Cazenovia School District, creating two new sensory classrooms, one at Burton Street Elementary and another at the middle school was inspired from a trip taken by about a dozen district staff members to SUNY Cortland to see a sensory gym. Erwin said the district recognized the potential these spaces could hold and decided to experiment with the concept. These colorful classrooms are intended to promote focus, participation and creativity by allowing students to use their senses in a more hands-on learning environment. These classrooms include smartboards, height-adjustable whiteboard flipper tables, an outdoor space for a “more flexible environment,” stackable chairs to allow for more space and a “cozy corner” with LED lights, he said. These “cozy corners,” said District Occupational Therapist Nicole Russo, are especially useful for higher-need students who need to destress without leaving the classroom and or “just need the quiet space with a calming atmosphere for them to really hone in and focus,” she said. We just want to provide them with that safe space to calm down,” said Russo. … Teachers can sign out these sensory classrooms and bring their classes in to “engage in a more active classroom setting,” and can be especially useful for classes where special needs students are intermixed, potentially offering a better seating arrangement or different way of learning for those students, said Erwin….


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