During the spring of 2021, the federal government passed the American Rescue Plan, designed to move the country forward after the pandemic. This plan, along with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provided supplemental funding to support the transition to in-person learning for students ages 3-21 with disabilities. Like other districts across the country, Lake Villa 41 faced the challenge of addressing learning gaps.
The district’s approach was to create separate sensory rooms in each of the three elementary schools. Sensory rooms help children calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others. Spending time in a sensory room helps children improve their visual, auditory, and tactile processing as well as fine motor skills. Each space works under the premise of teaching the Zones of Regulation and is designed to provide the students with choices that can be customized to meet their individual needs.
Whether it is utilizing the “Colt Club” at Martin Elementary School to regulate or calm the body, visiting Hooper’s “Sensory Suite” to create positive connections with other students, or taking some quiet, reflective time at Thompson’s “Camp Paws,” these rooms are providing a positive place for students to regroup and refocus.