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Sensory Courtyard

On Thursday, March 21st, 2024, All Saints School was thrilled to host John Burdett from Nuneaton Old Ed's and Warwickshire RFU, representing the Wooden Spoon charity, for the official opening of the All Saints Sensory Courtyard. This once-neglected area of our school has been transformed into a serene and secure space, thanks to the generosity of the Wooden Spoon charity and the support of our school council. We are immensely grateful for their contributions to this project.

The ethos of Wooden Spoon, advocating for equal opportunities for all children regardless of their background, aligns perfectly with our values at All Saints. The Sensory Courtyard serves as a dedicated space where children experiencing feelings of restlessness, lack of focus, excitement, or mild anxiety - commonly associated with the Yellow Zone of the Zones of Regulation - can find solace. Here, they are given the time and resources to work through these emotions and bodily sensations, gradually transitioning to the Green Zone characterized by relaxation, calmness, focus, and readiness to engage in learning activities.

The Sensory Courtyard features a range of elements aimed at providing a diverse sensory experience. Alongside the Sensory Circuit and Sensory Trays, which are regularly updated to meet specific sensory needs such as sand play, water play, sorting and ordering, messy play, and a mud kitchen, we have incorporated tires for "heavy work tasks." These tires offer proprioceptive input through muscle and joint engagement, promoting a calming and organizing sensory experience that aids in refocusing.

Additionally, we have plans to introduce a 'Montessori busy board' equipped with lights, switches, locks, and cogs, aimed at developing sensory processing abilities, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills – all crucial for learning, communication, and overall development. Furthermore, we plan to create a ‘Sensory Shed’ within the courtyard, complete with blackout curtains and sensory lighting, providing children with a space to relax and reset when overstimulated.

The Sensory Courtyard is intended to offer a holistic sensory experience, fostering emotional and psychological well-being, aiding cognitive development, promoting physical activity, and providing numerous therapeutic benefits. Our Stay and Play children will have the opportunity to explore and engage in activities that stimulate all five senses during Wednesday mornings. Additionally, we are excited about the potential collaboration with Acorn Lodge Care Home, where joint sensory sessions in the courtyard will benefit both our children and the residents of the care home.

Children using the Sensory Courtyard will be educated on how to utilize the space appropriately, care for and maintain it through Courtyard Caretaker responsibilities, and share it with the wider community. Each interaction with the space presents an opportunity for them to regulate their emotions and bodies, fostering self-control and contributing to our vision of learning for life, building a firm foundation.

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