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Jefferson, MI: School adds sensory room for students to "reset" when things are too "daunting"

Jan 24, 2022, Monroe (MI) News: Jefferson students benefit from sensory room

Students at Harold F. Sodt Elementary School now have a place to go in order to reset when the school day begins to feel too daunting. The new sensory room opened in the building at the beginning of October. It is filled with gymnastics matts, fidget toys and even a ball pit. The room is designed to have two sides that cater to students depending on their needs. One side is called the alerting side, which allows students to participate in fast moving activities that prepare their body for learning. The calming side is designed to comfort children when anxious or frustrated, so they can begin to focus on learning again. Principal Tara Roe said they first brought this to their building as just a sensory hallway, but as the need grew they expanded to a full room. “We just noticed that our kids are coming to us with more trauma and they need those sensory breaks to kind of reset because they’re not able to reset in the classroom a lot of times just because of everything else going on,” Roe said…. Each morning, Kari Marchese, early childhood special education teacher, takes her students to the sensory room as soon as they get off the bus. She said it’s important to help the students prepare for a day of learning after sitting on the bus for a while. Her class consists of nine children ages two-and-a-half to six, many of which have trouble with sensory processing. … Marchese said her students have the opportunity to visit the sensory room sometimes twice a day based on their individual needs. She said that often times being restless, climbing on things or getting out of their seats is a sign that students need to visit the room in order to refocus. “I can see a huge difference in our kids from when they’re going in there and they’re escalated and when they come out and how calm they are,” Roe said. “It’s not a place where you’re being punished…they’re little kids they have emotions just like all of us they just can’t regulate them. So it’s just a place where they know they’re safe and they’re not going to get in trouble they just need a reset so they can get back to learning. "And it works.”


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