AP NEWS

New sensory room opens at Lake City school

April 9, 2019

LAKE CITY, S.C. – Students and employees at Dr. Ronald E. McNair School of Digital Communication and Leadership now have a room they can use to destress and enjoy stimulating activities.

A new sensory and action-based learning room was opened Monday at the school following a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by students, teachers, district administrators and staff from surrounding school districts. In one half of the room, the lights are dim and gentle sounds fill the space to create a sense of relaxation. The other half of the room promotes action-based learning.

The room includes smart boards, yoga balls, a boxing bag and gloves, bean bags, balance boards and books, among many other things.

The goal of the sensory-motor room is to use sensory-motor strategies to help all students change their alert levels to optimal, promoting student engagement and academic achievement, according to a news release from the district.

“I think it (the sensory room) just gives students so much more opportunities to develop their little personalities into fostering the behaviors we want to see, not just in school but out in our community as well,” said Cheryl Hubbard-George, Florence County School District Three’s director of exceptional children. “We want our students to be representatives of not only the school district, but we want them to be proud. And we want people to say that’s a Florence School District Three student, because we know that they behave so well.”

Hubbard-George said the new sensory room is inclusive because the district wants students and teacher to be able to have a safe space to go, reflect, plan and grow.

Florence County School District Three opened a sensory room last year at Lake City Early Childhood Center. Superintendent Laura Hickson said giving middle school students that same opportunity provides a chance for their also share their emotions.

“We all know at the middle school level, they come with a lot of emotions,” Hickson said. “And this is just a great way for them to channel those emotions in a positive, safe way.”

Before Monday’s grand opening presentation was complete, students were already taking advantage of the amenities in the room.

″ It’s for them, so my smile and my emotions are a hundred times more than I actually thought,” Hubbard-George said. “I kind of welled up a little bit as I was talking about opening up the room, because it is about them, and to see them utilizing it while I’m in here and exploring is amazing.”

The sensory room was completed in collaboration with Spears Beckham, owner of EdSoulutions in Florence.

The project was funded by the state’s Maintenance of State Financial Support spending plan to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, according to a news release. The space is created to promote inclusive practices and positive behavior intervention and supports for all students.