Here at Oakwood, we not only make learning fun, we make learning a multi-sensory experience.
Our senses play a vital role in the way our bodies are able to receive and process information. Incorporating the use of our senses during daily learning helps to ensure each child’s potential is maximized.
Opportunities for sensory-infused learning occur throughout the day within our school. For example, students in the Transition program participated in fall-themed sensory activities, including exploring musical instruments and searching for items in a sensory bin full of fall items, such as leaves and pinecones. Some of the senses targeted within these activities include: tactile exposure to different textures, exposure to different auditory input, as well as activation of their visual system by discriminating the different colours of leaves.
Students at Oakwood utilize their senses within every activity they do. The ability to integrate our sensory systems when performing an activity is vital for success for all of us, children and adults alike. The inability to integrate our sensory systems can often lead to challenges with our ability to maintain regulation. An everyday example of this is exposure to a strong scent; think back to a time when a scent has affected your ability to stay engaged and regulated during an activity. It may cause difficulty concentrating or performing a task as the smell is overpowering. Another example is sound; many of us may find it difficult to focus on what we are doing when we can hear extraneous noise, be it people talking nearby where we are working or the sound of a TV show in the background. By exploring our sensory systems through activities within the Transition and Academic programs, students learn to integrate these experiences and develop a better understanding of the world around them.
At Oakwood, some students’ sensory systems can be over-reactive (avoidant), under-reactive (seeking), or a combination of both, in terms of processing sensory input. As a result, it can be very challenging for a student to integrate their sensory systems. Students may react adversely to a touch or sound, or they may seek out certain textures or sensations (e.g. spinning.) By creating an environment that encourages students to touch, smell, jump, squeeze, taste, etc., we are giving students the opportunity to learn with their whole body, thus creating a more engaging environment for our students.