The idea of creating a small Sensory Corner in the Elementary School Gym that we could use during PE lessons was born from observing our students’ need to explore and develop physical skills all the while shifting perspective.
This project is meant to support all students during physical activity and help them switch to a comforting and relaxing mood, but in the meantime developing gross motor skills in a non-structured way.
All students benefit from sensory activities. Engaging activities that use the senses develop neural pathways in young children’s brains. For students of all abilities, using a procedure or tool in our PE lesson that engages their senses can make a lesson more meaningful and memorable. All students may have different moments when they might need helping to calm down or to maintain focus, so learning how sensory activities can be included will only enrich our PE lessons.
There are populations of students who find sensory activities especially beneficial, such as students with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders.
This year in PE we are also using Regulation Zones to help students with conflict resolution or make them think of ways to cope with losing or winning in games we play during class.
Using calming or energizing activities helps their brains wire new pathways and learn how to cope.
This will help students learn how to advocate for themselves, and as they adjust to more routine levels of response, it should reduce behavior outbursts.
Our Sensory Corner has been created this year in PE lessons to offer students a possibility to relax, think and cooperate better with transition or new activities.
During Sensory play the child can learn to block out irrelevant noise and focus on the play which is occurring with their peer or on their own.
Sensory activities allow children to refine their thresholds for different sensory information, helping their brain to create stronger connections to sensory information and learn which are useful and which can be filtered out.
For example, a child may find it difficult to play with other children when there is too much going on in their environment with conflicting noises or sights.
A poster called HOW DO YOU FEEL? was placed in all PE areas used in the ES in order to find out what students really feel when they come to our PE lesson and try to improve or maintain their emotional estate.
Each student touches one of the images at the beginning and end of the lesson, and this will help us plan their future learning.
I am confident that this project will be beneficial for students and will be preparing, engaging and inspiring them for the future!
Further reading about the benefits of sensory corners:
Multi Sensory Environments: The Benefits