By Jonty Ralphsmith and Cameron Lucadou-Wells
Noble Park Primary School was finally able to hold the official opening for its sanctuary room on Thursday 19 May.
The room opened close to 12 months ago, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, a ceremonious ribbon-cutting event was held off.
The space is controlled and intentionally created, supported by health staff including occupational therapists.
It is designed to be a space where students can go when they are feeling dysregulated to calm them and address the sensory cause of the issue to engage them in their learning.
The room provides different sensory activities according to a student’s needs, including weighted animals, items that light up, products that rock and sway, and toys of various textures.
“It is based on significant body of research which says you cannot say to a child feeling dysregulated ‘get your act together’ – that does not work,” principal David Rothstadt said.
“You need to find space for the children to become more regulated so they can talk about what the thing is that’s causing distress or discomfort so they can move back into the mainstream group.”
Assistant principal Susan Vissenjoux said she has received queries from nearby schools about the room, underlining the appraisal it has received from the community.
“One of our students said to me: ‘When I walk inside this room it seems like all my worries just say outside’,” Ms Vissenjoux said, a statement emblematic of its effectiveness for the students.
“Anyone that has seen it absolutely loves it.”
The room is a collaborative, about $15,000 project with significant funding and outfitting a direct result of Noble Park Rotary Club’s work fundraising and Sandown Greyhound Racing Club also contributing.
Ms Vissenjoux thanked Rotary for its support.