Loddon Primary School

Loddon Primary Sensory Room Back to school couldn’t have been more of a celebration for the students at Loddon Primary School as they were welcomed to two brand-new sensory spaces in September.

Specially built for learning, socialisation, and play – the sensory rooms are filled with exciting multisensory resources designed to stimulate and nurture senses.

Keep on reading to find out how the project came together.

 

Project Background

After ordering a copy of our Sensory Catalogue, Loddon Primary was inspired to create two relaxation areas in their school. The sensory spaces could be used to support students’ emotions, senses and learning throughout the day. So whether students find the noise and light levels of a classroom too overwhelming or if they’re looking for a quiet moment to focus on their senses – they’ll be able to do so in a safe space.

With that brief, our sensory design and installation teams set to work!

 

Turning a Bathroom into a Sensory Room?

Before we could get started, our handy installation team needed to transform an old bathroom into a blank canvas for one of the new sensory spaces. This involved ripping out tiles, toilets and sinks and stripping the space to its bare bones. Once the room was gutted, they could plaster, paint and sort out its electrics, ready for the sensory carpets, padding and resources.

 

KS1 Sensory Room

We created two room designs – one for KS1 and the other for KS2 – with subtle differences in key resources to best support the different age groups.

The KS1 sensory room was designed around the concept of Hygge – cosy, comfortable, and soft.

Illuminated by sensory mood lighting, the whole space has a magical glow. Students can relax under the bubbling glow of the bubble tube or gaze into the endless lights of the infinity tunnel. Soft padding lines the room, creating endless sitting places and extra protection against bumps or bruises.

Loddon Primary Sensory Room

 

KS2 Sensory Room

Whilst the KS2 sensory room was made for dreamers. We made the most of this windowless room by bathing it in soft sensory light. Soft hues glitter and glow from various sensory resources around the room, centring on the bubbling bubble tube that acts like a beacon of light in the corner of the space.

Dark sensory rooms give users a chance to focus. Without the added stimulation of a bright overhead light, users can focus on understimulated senses, like touch and sound, which are effective at grounding and calming.

Other calming features include the retro-style UV Carpet, Line Lite Mirror, rainbow ladder and fibre optic tails.

Loddon Primary Sensory RoomLoddon Primary Sensory Room

Loddon Primary School is a mainstream primary school for children aged 2-11 years old in Reading.

Side By Side Special School

Project Background

Side By Side Special School is a community school for children aged 2-19. Based in London, they support the learning and development of its diverse community of pupils, all with Educational, Health & Care Plans (EHCP) and additional needs.

In the summer of 2022, the trust head of Side By Side School contacted our sensory team with an exciting proposal.

Inspired by a newly awarded grant, Side By Side wanted to expand their school and develop a new £11.6m state-of-the-art campus to better support their students’ needs and increase their capacity from 80 to 150 pupils.

It was important that the new building would be open and accessible for all of the school’s students, no matter their age or needs – which is where our sensory team got involved. We were asked to design, collaborate and instal multiple sensory spaces that would cater to and support the whole Side By Side school community.

 

Sensory Project Design Brief

  • Create inclusive sensory spaces that are accessible to all
  • Design adaptable areas that can be used by Side by Side’s youngest and oldest students
  • Inspire play, learning and connection

 

Our Plan

To meet Side By Side’s multi-sensory needs, we took a holistic multi-room approach to the project, designing and developing four unique sensory spaces.

Not only would we provide a space for every student to explore their senses, but we’d also facilitate wider access to sensory support throughout the day, creating a safe, collaborative and playful school environment perfect for learning.

 

Side By Side Soft Play Room

Soft Play Room

We designed the Soft Play Room for exploration and comfort. Cosy lilac safety padding decorates the floor and walls, creating a soft canvas for play and a calming colour for visual stimulation/distraction.

Students have space to move and put their motor skills to the test as they climb up the steps and walk across the platform tunnels before sliding down and making a splash in the ball pool!

The space can be used by groups of students for social sessions to develop skills together in a controlled environment. While individual students can be guided by a teacher in personal development sessions, calmly building bodily awareness with the Bodyrocker or laying back and stimulating their proprioceptive systems on the vibrant vibrating bumpers.

Room Includes: Sloped Wall Padding, Soft Play Steps, Platform with Tunnel, Slide, Shape Set, Ball Pool, Bodyrocker, Vibrating Bumpers, and Accessible Wheelchair-Friendly Floor Padding.

 

Side By Side Sensory Room

Sensory Room

Dreams and wonder inspired Side by Side’s Sensory Room. We designed the space for students to escape busy classrooms and find comfort in a cosy area that warms their bodies, minds and emotions.

Dreams: Students can lay back on the musical waterbed and experience music immersively as they feel their favourite songs vibrate through the water mattress, lulling them into a therapeutic calm. Or, if they’d prefer a cosier musical experience, students can cuddle up into the Resonance Beanbag and experience the same therapeutic proprioceptive stimulation from the comfort of a colourful beanbag.

Wonder: Students can go on an active adventure, dancing, jumping, splatting and interacting with the worlds projected onto the floor by the omi projector. Dive into the illuminated ball pool and swim amongst the twinkling fibre optics. Or gaze at the bubble tube’s mesmerising bubbly light from the comfort of the soft padded podium

Room Includes: Bubble Wall, Musical Waterbed, Bubble Tube & Podium, Fibre Optics, LED Wall Wash, Laser Stars Projector, omiVista Interactive Floor Projector, Illuminated Corner Ball Pool, Resonance Beanbag, and Floor & Wall Padding.

 

Side By Side Sensory Integration Room

Occupational Therapy Rooms

The bright, blue and spacious occupational therapy room was designed with movement and development in mind. Soft padding lines the walls and floors to create a safe space for exploration and play, with strong swing hooks firmly secured to the ceiling – making the room a blank canvas for therapeutic development.

From Platform Swings that engage the whole body to softly sloping Roller Ramps that challenge students’ sense of balance – the room can be used by occupational therapists to personally tailor each sensory session in the room to each student.

Room Includes: Wall & Floor Safety Padding, Platform Swing.

 

Side By Side Sensory Corner

Classroom Sensory Corner

Special sensory areas hidden in classroom corners offer students a space to break out if they need to step away from a lesson; Taking control of their behaviour and reducing the instance of a meltdown is a productive way of productively balancing calming and learning.

Room Includes: Interactive Wall Panels (Fireworks Panel, Bubble Wall), Fibre Optic Side Glow, Bubble Tube & Podium, Wall & Floor Safety Padding

Discovery Academy

Project Background

Discovery Academy is a brand-new learning provision for autistic students aged between 7 and 16 in Sheffield.

The school’s mission is to develop its students into dreamers, believers, and achievers – and part of that strategy was to create inclusive learning environments where students can do just that.

To help turn their dream into a reality, Discovery Academy got in touch with our Sensory Team, asking if we’d be available to collaborate on their big project. And, of course, we said yes!

Over the next year, we worked closely with the school to advise, design, and install four new sensory spaces tailored for their autistic school community, ready for their big September 2022 opening.

Sensory Room Design Brief

  • Inclusive learning spaces that support all students across the autism spectrum
  • Inspire a school of dreamers, believers, and achievers
  • Build areas where students learn soft skills of kindness, care and self-belief

 

Discovery Academy Sensory Integration Room

Sensory Integration Room

Designed to connect minds to bodies, the Sensory Integration Room is a physical space where students can learn more about their minds and bodies in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.

Calming blue walls cushioned with soft safety padding create a thought-out environment for therapeutic sensory sessions. A large free-standing beam frames the room offering students a place to swing, rock, sway and therapeutically develop their vestibular, balance, motor and proprioceptive senses.

Other sensory integration items in the room include a body roller (for deep-pressure activities) and a SenSit chair (for calming anxiety and meltdowns).

Room Includes: Custom Free Standing Beam Frame, SenSit Chair and Stool, Body Roller, Floor and Wall Padding.

 

Discovery Academy Soft Play Room

Soft Play Room

Bright, colourful and ready for active adventures and social play. Discovery Academy’s Soft Play Room is an ideal space for students to break out of formal classrooms and release pent-up energy.

Students can develop their balance skills by rocking back and forth on top of the colourful Rocker Roller, stimulate their proprioceptive senses swimming through a sea of ball pool balls, or have a contemplative moment whilst they explore their visual senses in the bubble mirror.

Room Includes: Bespoke Ball Pool and Soft Play Area, Rocker Roller, Convex Bubble Mirror, Vibrating Bumpers, and Soft Play Shape Matching Set.

 

Discovery Academy Sensory Dark Room

Sensory Dark Room

Built around the school’s ethos of believers, dreamers and achievers, Discovery’s Dark Room glows with sensory magic.

UV lights surround the room, illuminating all its elements in a warm sensory glow. From the patterned UV carpet, interactive bubble tube, and twinkling fibre optic lights, it’s a great place for students to escape the classroom, find calm and focus on their senses.

Room Includes: Interactive Bubble Tube, Fibre Optics, Solar Projector, Sound & Light Panel, Infinity Tunnel, Tactile Panels, Chair Beanbag, UV Carpet, Line Lite Mirror, Illuminated Round Corner Pool, Safety Padding.

 

Discovery Academy De-Escalation Room

De-Escalation Room

De-Escalation Rooms are practical and functional. They’re designed as a safe space for students to release any built-up emotions, energy and anxiety in a controlled manner.

Discovery’s calming room features royal blue floor and wall padding, framing a large window that allows lots of natural light into the space, connecting students’ senses to nature.

Room Includes: Safety Floor and Wall Padding

St Crispin’s School

Project Background

St Crispin’s is a special school in Edinburgh that supports the learning of pupils aged between 4-18 with complex learning disabilities and autism. The school’s community had outgrown their old building, and Edinburgh Council were keen to create a bigger and better space that could help to nurture the students learning and development.

In early 2018, Edinburgh Council contacted us as they’d just secured £12m funding for a brand-new site for St Crispin’s. They wanted to know if our sensory team could design and specify three therapeutic spaces – and of course we said yes!

Over the next couple of years, we worked closely with the council and contractors McLaughlin & Harvey to develop, design and install the new sensory spaces on time, on plan and on budget.

The school was due to open in September 2021, but due to delays stemming from Covid-19, the site was finally opened in February 2022 with a very warm welcome.

Soft Play Room at St Crispin's

Soft Play Room

A bright and colourful spot for students to run around, climb, jump, roll and let off steam – safely.

The Soft Play room is lined with made to measure padding to create a safe canvas for play, and filled with exciting and physically challenging resources, including platforms, tunnels, slides and a big, bright ball pool, to support students’ physical development.

Alongside the motor resources, we added a mix of therapeutic elements to balance the active play space. For example, students can lean back against the Vibrating Bumpas and stimulate their proprioceptive senses. Or they can build and develop cognitive and motor skills as they creatively construct dens, obstacle courses and towers with the colourful Soft Play Construction Set.

Soft Play Room: Wall & Floor Padding, Vibrating Bumpas, Ball Pool, Platform with Tunnels, Stairs.

 

Immersive Sensory Room Studio at St Crispin's School

Sensory Room Studio

Designed to inspire imaginations, shape senses, and offer a space for accessible, inclusive learning – St Crispin’s immersive Sensory Room Studio is a special place for students to escape reality and discover themselves.

A multi-projector set-up decorates the room’s walls and floor with interactive images and videos, immersing users in a dreamy, imaginative space. Using an iPad, users can easily change the room’s theme, whether that’s diving into the deep blue sea or hopping from flower to flower with a busy bee.

It’s a modern sensory space that’s perfect for engaging children’s minds, bodies and senses.

Sensory Room Studio Features: Sensory Projectors, MSE Room Control, Bubble Wall, Slab Beanbags, LED Wall Wash.

 

Glow in the Dark in St Crispin's School's Sensory Room

Interactive Sensory Room

This classic sensory room was created so that students at St Crispin’s could have a calming space to come to if they are ever feeling stressed, anxious or if their senses are out of balance.

Filled with bubbling bubble tubes, twinkling fibre optics, and lined with cosy soft, safety padding, users have the opportunity and space to sit back and relax.

Designed for individual sensory sessions, all of the equipment is switch controlled for accessibility. Users can choose to sit and enjoy the room’s calming stimulation passively or actively explore their senses, using the colour controller cube to interact with various resources around the room.

Interactive Sensory Room Features: Bubble Tube & Podium, Slab Beanbags, Fibre Optics, Line Lite Mirror, Fibre Optic Curtain, Colour Controller Cube, Sound & Light Panel, Infinity Tunnel, Laser Stars Projector, Solar Projector.

Kensington Queensmill School

Building a Sensory School

Back in 2017, we were contacted by architecture firm Penoyre & Prasad to collaborate on an inclusive therapeutic sensory design project for a new special school resource at Barlby Primary School in London.

The school had recently received a £39 million pound investment from Kensington & Chelsea Council to provide essential special needs education facilities that had previously been absent in the borough. As a result, families of children with disabilities and special needs were forced to travel out of the borough to access the educational support they needed. The council saw this priority problem as a priority that they needed to resolve.

With a September 2021 opening date in mind, our sensory team started planning and preparing for what was sure to be another inspirational sensory install.

 

Our Design

Our integrated design consisted of three different sensory areas that would become a part of the new Kensington Queensmill School site at Barlby. The Sensory Integration, Soft Play & AV Rooms were inspired to nurture student’s learning, development and growth.

 

The Body Shop: Sensory Integration Space

Designed to help students feel more comfortable and in control of their bodies, the Body Shop is the school’s in-house physiotherapy space. Through personalised sensory integration sessions, students will have the chance to develop their proprioceptive, vestibular, and motor skills by interacting with the swings, scooters and ramps placed in the room.

Soft safety padding lines the room’s walls and floors, offering comfort and protection while students actively explore the space.

Soft Play Room

The bright and colourful soft play room is an exciting space where students can let loose and have fun. Designed as a second space away from classrooms and learning, students have the opportunity to de-stress and centre themselves through sensory stimulation.

Students can bounce away on the trampoline, dive into the colourful ball pool, roll around in the soft roller tunnel, and climb, crawl and jump whilst joyfully traversing the large soft play shapes – building essential proprioceptive and motor skills.

AV Room

Inspiring, inclusive, and immersive AV rooms present the future of learning. Dynamic images and videos light up the walls and stimulate wandering minds, capturing their attention, reducing stress, and making learning undeniably fun.

The rooms interactivity also lets students learn actively with their whole bodies, using their arms to pop bubbles, legs to kick a football, or their wheelchair to play a melodic tune on the xylophone.

 

Further Information:

 

The Hollies Special School

Our Install Team began 2021 to a bright sensory start as they travelled down to The Hollies School in Cardiff to create two new Sensory Integration Rooms for their special school community.

Oakwood SILC

Oakwood SILC is a part of the East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre in Leeds that support children between the ages of 3 and 19 with complex learning difficulties. The school contacted us as they wished to refurbish and create a selection of inclusive sensory spaces to support and enrich the school’s students and their learning journeys.

Glanhowy Primary School

In early 2016, Blaenau Gwent Council tasked us to design and install a brand-new SEND Resource Base at Glanhowy, a mainstream primary school, to support their school population with ASD and additional needs.

It was up to our sensory design team to transform a small, oddly shaped storage room into a spectacular sensory space, inclusive of every student’s needs. A space where students could learn, play and relax.

And it didn’t take long for our talented team to develop a perfect design for Glanhowy Primary School’s new sensory space.

Building a SEND Hub

  • Inclusive learning
  • Safe Space
  • Sensory Stimulation

Inclusive Learning:

Classroom learning isn’t for everyone. So, we wanted to create an inclusive learning area for interactive and innovative lessons. We did this by installing an Omi Projector, an exciting piece of interactive technology that instantly transforms any space into a dynamic sensory playground. So, instead of sitting in a chair and writing in a book, pupils can use their arms and legs to interact with the projected educational games within the sensory room, learning in a way that works for them.

Safe Space:

To make sure students feel safe and comforted when they’re exploring their senses, we decorated the room’s walls and floors with colourful safety padding. The soft surfaces also double as a space for cosy relaxation, sensory stimulation and therapy sessions!

Alongside the safety padding, we selected a range of other cosy comforts for students to use whenever they feel like they needed a moment to relax. A Rhino Green Sensit Chair provides full-body proprioceptive stimulation, like a big warm hug, perfect for calming someone down when they’re on the brink of a meltdown. Whilst a Suspended Cuddle Swing promotes the development of vestibular senses and softly rocks a user into relaxation.

Sensory Stimulation:

And a sensory room wouldn’t be a sensory room without lots of stimulating sensory equipment! We included a beautifully bubbling Bubble Wall, inquisitive Infinity Tunnel, and a glowing UV Carpet for visual stimulation. A twinkling Fibre Optic Curtain gives students a chance to build their tactile skills whilst observing the dreamy lights surrounding their bodies.

All of the sensory elements quickly came together to create a truly stimulating environment. Perfect for users to develop their senses, relax, and have fun!

 

Another Sensory Success

“The sensory room looks great and will be an asset to the new resource base, especially when it comes to supporting students with additional needs and supplementing their learning experience at school.” – ARC Manager.

Our sensory team couldn’t have been happier to receive the fantastic feedback from the Glanhowy School staff. And we’re proud to have created a bright beacon of inclusive sensory learning on the border of the Brecon Beacons!

Maplefields Special School

Rhino UK designed and installed an immersive sensory studio and colourful soft play area in this newly built school.