How to create a better classroom to meet children’s sensory needs
Meeting the sensory needs of all children in a classroom can be challenging for teachers. But when we do it well, students learn better and are less likely to communicate in a way that distracts others.
What do I need to consider?
Our brains can be simplified into three parts.
- 1) The lower brain is responsible for autonomic function. It is also called the ‘survival brain’.
- 2) The mid-brain deals with sensory processing, motor function and emotional regulation.
- 3) The higher brain is where cognitive functions take place, like reasoning and thinking
How can I create an environment to support all children?
Safety is a top priority. Children are better able to regulate when they are safe and connected.
Pause for movement breaks. Often! Children’s focus and attention will improve.
Give a choice of seating. Pillows, standing desks, ball chairs, wobble seats and floor seats are all options.
Modify desks and chairs.
Provide sensory boxes.
Get children to run and jump on the spot.
Stop every so often for deep breathing or meditation exercises.
Stand on tip ties, stretch arms to the ceiling.
Chair, wall and table push-ups all help.
Get children to look up, down and sideways to rotate their heads.