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Osburn, ID: Elem school adds "Zen Den" to avoid disruptive behavior

Nov 22, 2022, Shoshone News Press: Osburn, ID: A sense of comfort https://shoshonenewspress.com/news/2022/nov/22/sense-comfort/

Developing coping skills is one of the most important ways that human beings adjust to the increasingly stressful world that we exist in.

This is doubly important for children — who often find themselves in situations where their stress manifests itself into feelings of helplessness, anger or sadness. It can also cause them to feel restless and when a child feels restless with no available outlets for their energy it can lead to disruptive behavior.

At Silver Hills Elementary School (SHES), a newly designed space is now available for the students to go and gather themselves — while allowing them the opportunity to express these feelings or even let out some of that pent-up energy.

With the backing of Mountain West Bank (MWB), the SHES Special Education Department created a new sensory room that students are free to use when the situation calls for it….

“We could see these rooms help children, teachers and therapy staff,” Johnson said. “To kids, this just looks like fun, and to adults it’s a way of working therapy into real-life lessons: like learning how to regulate emotions. Kids getting an opportunity to get their wiggles out or regroup in the Zen Den helps them to have more class time with less interruptions.”…

One of the cooler features of the space is a converted closet right off from the room that houses the Zen Den, a blacked-out room complete with fiber optic lighting, and a big bean bag chair where a child can lay beneath a weighted blanket and listen to calming music and let go of their stresses and anxiety….

“Their tireless effort lead to an amazing sensory room that opened at the start of the school year,” Johnson said. “If it hadn’t been for the teachers, this room wouldn’t be what it is. One teacher had her mom come help paint, and husbands pitched in to help paint vinyl padding, hang swings, and all sorts of chores. These teachers knew how to hustle.”…

Mountain West Bank Branch Manager Gina Doerschel (standing far left) along with Mountain West Bank Community Relations Manager Bekah Johnson (standing far right) took a site tour with the Silver Hills Elementary School's Special Education Department (SPED) to see the new sensory room that was sponsored by Mountain West Bank and put together by the school's SPED staff.

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