The Rainbow Room
At Greensted Junior School we understand that schools can be busy, noisy places for some children and the sheer volume of stimuli can all get too much, making the school environment a stressful and disturbing place at times.
The creation of our new sensory room, called 'The Rainbow Room', is a practical and effective way to provide a calming and safe space for our children with autism and other special educational needs.
What is the Rainbow Room?
The Rainbow Room is a quiet space dedicated to stimulating, developing and relaxing the senses.
Unlike a classroom, where children are usually expected to watch and listen to the teacher, the Rainbow Room allows our children the freedom and autonomy to explore the environment for themselves, in their own time, using all of their senses.
The décor of our Rainbow Room includes low lighting and an adjustable lighting projection lamp. It contains a choice of comfortable places to sit, a variety of interesting objects to examine, and it also features soft music.
THE BENEFITS OF THE RAINBOW ROOM
The Rainbow Room has an important role to play for many of our children:
- It provides a therapeutic environment for our children who have autism and other special educational needs.
- It has a variety of equipment which can be used to develop a range of coping strategies.
- It can act as a calming space for children experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties.
- It can help children learn to manage their emotions in a controlled environment, without feeling they are being isolated or punished.
CHILDREN ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM
While autism affects every individual differently, difficulty processing sensory information is a common characteristic of the condition.
Sensory issues can either involve hypersensitivity – where too much stimulus is difficult to cope with – or hyposensitivity, where pupils don’t experience the same level of intensity as others.
Our Rainbow Room can help children with autism deal with all kinds of sensory sensitivities in a relaxing and calming, yet stimulating environment.
CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
At Greensted, we believe that learning doesn’t just have to happen in the classroom. In fact, for many of our children with learning difficulties, the classroom can become an environment which, on occasion, can be unsuited to absorbing and digesting information.
However, with regular access to the Rainbow Room, it enables our children to have the necessary brain-breaks in order to help them re-focus, thus supporting their ability to cope in the main classroom setting as it is furnished with equipment such as bean bags, cushions, mats, lights and tactile toys.
CHILDREN WITH BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES
Sometimes behavioural issues can be a challenge, but at Greensted, we have found that the Rainbow Room is an effective and chilled-out way to work with children on regulating their behaviour.
The staff at Greensted are extremely pro-active with dealing with any behaviour issues and are able to use the calming environment of the Rainbow Room to work through any difficult emotions with a child in a safe, supportive space as well as using the Zones of Regulation, which has become an embedded, whole school approach.