Connecting Sensory and SEL
Sensory experiences – what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell – significantly influence our emotional and psychological state. Understanding and catering to these sensory needs can be transformative in the context of SEL. It enables students to become more self-aware and better regulate emotions, manage stress, and engage positively with peers and educators.
Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced educational landscape, sensory-informed practices is one of the most often overlooked roles in enhancing SEL.
The benefits of Sensory-Informed practices:
1. Enhanced Focus and Concentration: Sensory tools such as stress balls or sensory strips can help students maintain focus, especially those with ADHD or sensory processing disorders.
2. Emotional Regulation: Sensory activities, in combination with breathing strategies, can soothe students experiencing anxiety, helping them regain their calm.
3. Improved Social Interaction: Sensory-friendly environments can reduce overstimulation, making it easier for students to participate in group activities and social learning.
4. Safe Learning Experience: Recognizing individual sensory needs with the presence of a Calming Corner allows students to have a safe place to self-regulate using various sensory tools.
Implementing Sensory-Informed Practices:
1. Creating Sensory-Safe Spaces: Establish calming corners in classrooms equipped with sensory tools like stress balls and breathing strategies to help students self-regulate.
2. Integrating Sensory Activities: Incorporate intentional sensory breaks throughout the day to help students reset and refocus.
3. Educator Training: Provide educators with effective strategies to integrate sensory-informed practices and sensory tools into daily classroom routines.
Restore our Classrooms
Integrating sensory-informed practices into SEL is not just beneficial but essential. By acknowledging and addressing the sensory aspects of learning, we create more inclusive, empathetic, and effective educational environments. Sensory-informed SEL recognizes the whole child, catering to both their emotional and sensory needs, leading to a more comprehensive and impactful learning experience.
Every child perceives the world uniquely; understanding this perception is key to unlocking their full potential in social and emotional development. Embracing sensory-informed SEL can transform our classrooms into spaces where every student feels understood, supported, and ready to learn.
Interactive tools such as the breath ball can help students learn the concept of breath control and its role in our ability to calm our bodies.
Turn these everyday toys into life-changing tools.