Union Free School District
- Hastings-on-Hudson U.F.S.D.
Farragut Middle School Opens New Sensory Room
A new sensory room at Farragut Middle School is offering students a chance to unwind during the school day.
“With students coming back from remote learning and moving up from fourth to fifth grade with different needs, we felt like having a space dedicated for calming down and taking a break when they feel overwhelmed would really support students,” said Farragut Middle School Inclusion Facilitator Kristen Kumar.
Kumar and Farragut Middle School Principal Jennifer Spirelli came up with the idea for the sensory room, which was made possible by a grant from the Hastings Education Foundation.
“It has really taken off,” said Kumar.
Outfitted with various tools and activities such as bean bag chairs for relaxation, wobble stools, fidget tools, coloring books, and an ambient noise machine, students can decompress in a calm space inside the school. Kumar said the room is open to all students at Farragut Middle School.
“If you think about inclusive spaces, it really says that what is good for one student is good for all students,” said Kumar. “My hope is that students who don’t have learning differences or sensory needs will see their peers here and think that it could be helpful for themselves. Then we could just normalize needing your sensory system to be regulated.”
Generally, students are inside the room under supervision for five to 10 minutes where they have free-range over the room’s sensory tools and activities. Students also can sign out some of these tools to take back to class with them.
“The hope is that this regulates their sensory system in school by either eliminating exterior senses or introducing tools and activities to ramp up their sensory system,” said Kumar. “Some students need to be supported more or pushed more, some students need more auditory or visual learning supports, and we can do that here for all of our students.”
In the future, Kumar said she would like to expand the tools in the sensory room to the rest of the building.
“Eventually we want to incorporate these things into the classrooms,” said Kumar. “Having an area where students can sit on a wobble stool or bean bag chairs and incorporating that flexibility throughout the building.”