Our small urban school is home to 340 students ages 3-11. We have a diverse population of student-families, many of which immigrated here from Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010 which made much of Haiti uninhabitable. Some of our older students who have since graduated shared their memories of the event. We have many students from Caribbean islands including Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados. Our students love to dance!
Our children come from many different kinds of homes: some have traditional two-parent households, but many have a single parent, grandparents, uncles, aunts, or family friends who are their guardians.
Boston has a shortage of affordable housing, so many of our families have unstable housing which is another obstacle to our kids' healthy development. For many of our kids, school is their only structured environment.
Our student population includes a wide variety learners, many that receive special education services to support their academic progress. We have five classrooms that are specifically for students with Autism - grade ranges from preschool through 5th grade.
Every student needs a break sometimes. My students with Autism are no exception! They need a designated space within their classroom that they can "chill out" and take a break between academic assignments. My previous project funded a variety of sensory tools to help them calm down such as weighted blankets, fidget tools, and visual toys. However, now we need to give them a defined space to use them!
My inner-city students with Autism need a comfortable classroom!
We are teaching them life skills including requesting a break when they need one. Right now their breaks take place while seated at the large academic tables. As we all know, sometimes to truly self regulate you need a change of scenery. This project is aimed to create a comfortable area within the classroom that is designed to decrease sensory input and increase my students ability to calm down and rejoin the group when they are able.
A side note about the heater included in this project - the classroom my students are in has failing heat. It gets VERY cold in the room, especially near the floor to ceiling windows that line one the side of the classroom. Most likely the chill out space will be located near the windows, therefore, I am also requesting a child safe heater to keep everyone comfortable.
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