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Maryville, TN: 2 elem. schools get sensory rooms; 'It's a hit with the kids'

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

June 25, 2021, ABC6, Knoxville, TN: Two elementary schools get dream rooms to benefit students

A Maryville nonprofit with a big heart for kids who’ve experienced devastation in their lives is at it again. We have followed Kingdom Design Ministries (KDM) through the years, showing you beautiful transformations of children’s bedrooms and other makeovers. The latest is a double dream room project at two elementary schools that had the same need. Generations of students have walked through the doors of Porter Elementary School in the Wildwood community of Blount County. It’s been at its current location since 1915 but was established way back in 1806. Now, there’s a bright new addition inside with fluffy clouds, pillows of all shapes and colors, and a cozy play campsite complete with the pretend makings of s’mores. It’s a sensory room to help kids with anxiety or fear feel safe and more prepared to learn. Porter principal Judy Pearson explained, “I have some students who–it’s trauma, some come from trauma situations and some, it’s just genetics. Sometimes our bodies are not wired exactly right, and we can’t function in the world exactly right.”… Pearson applied for a room makeover with Kingdom Design Ministries “We divided the room into four quadrants. We have a sort of calming area, we have a swing, which the students love because that rocking motion helps lower the blood pressure so it’s a very calming effect, then we have a sensory wall and Lego table so they can work on those fine motor skills because sometimes it’s something as simple as -they just need to distract their mind for a few minutes on something else,” said Missy Johnson, Kingdom Design Ministries founder, and program director. Outside the sensory room is a gathering spot with a park-like feel and school-approved graffiti on the walls. It’s a hit with the kids and adults…. “For us to have this, it’s a game changer. It really is.”…


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