Salk Sensory/Calming Area for Students
GRANT AUTHOR, SCHOOL, IMPACT & FUNDING
Alison Petralia, Jonas E. Salk Elementary, 709 K-4 students, $500
Round 28 for Fall, 2015; implemented in Spring, 2016
This project creates a place where students with a wide range of sensory, self-calming, and stimulation needs can self-advocate and regulate emotions without leaving the instructional environment. Students will have the opportunity to use items provided in the sensory areas to calm down, self soothe, release anger, and work through frustration in a positive, nonjudgmental climate. These potentially decrease the amount of special education referrals, decrease referrals leading to out-of-classroom suspensions, decrease classroom disruption while fostering independence, increasing student instruction and learning time, and facilitate an environment that is safe and comfortable for all students.
Jonas E. Salk Elementary School was awarded two grants, one from the Merrillville Education Foundation and another from NIPSCO, to purchase items to meet the sensory needs of students. With the money granted, we were able to purchase various items such as kinetic sand, foot rollers, chair bands, jelly beads, various fidget toys, in addition to several other sensory items. All teachers, K-4, have access to the items and are encouraged to utilize them in their classrooms to meet the many needs of their students. We have noticed a significant drop in the number of students needing time away to regroup and time off task since the items have been introduced. The teachers and students at Jonas E. Salk sincerely thank the Merrillville Education Foundation and NIPSCO for their generosity!