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Ms. Zook’s Classroom Edit display name

  • North Star Elementary School
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Nearly all students from low‑income households

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Our Title I school is one of the most diverse in the nation. Our school is a focus school for Structured Learning Classrooms which focus on our students with autism. Being a school in an socioeconomically tough area, we have students all over the school, not just in my classroom, who could benefit from having a sensory room to calm down and de-escalate in. Studies show that a sensory room - a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides students with personalized sensory input—helps children calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others. People talk about the 5 senses, but in reality there are more. Visual, Auditory, Olfactory (smell), Gustatory (taste), Tactile (touch), Vestibular (sense of head movement in space), Proprioceptive (sensations from muscles and joints), and Interoception (internal feelings such as cold, hunger, and bathroom needs). Kids can use the swings, carousel seats, balance boards, and foam pad for proprioceptive and vestibular. The inflatable "boat" provides a squeeze effect that is soothing (proprioceptive) and the sensory tray acts on the tactile sense. I believe that every school in the nation will eventually be equipped with these rooms, but for our population, it is especially important for these rooms to exist.

About my class

Our Title I school is one of the most diverse in the nation. Our school is a focus school for Structured Learning Classrooms which focus on our students with autism. Being a school in an socioeconomically tough area, we have students all over the school, not just in my classroom, who could benefit from having a sensory room to calm down and de-escalate in. Studies show that a sensory room - a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides students with personalized sensory input—helps children calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others. People talk about the 5 senses, but in reality there are more. Visual, Auditory, Olfactory (smell), Gustatory (taste), Tactile (touch), Vestibular (sense of head movement in space), Proprioceptive (sensations from muscles and joints), and Interoception (internal feelings such as cold, hunger, and bathroom needs). Kids can use the swings, carousel seats, balance boards, and foam pad for proprioceptive and vestibular. The inflatable "boat" provides a squeeze effect that is soothing (proprioceptive) and the sensory tray acts on the tactile sense. I believe that every school in the nation will eventually be equipped with these rooms, but for our population, it is especially important for these rooms to exist.

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