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  • Writer's pictureThe Hambrick Foundation

Teacher awarded THF grant to help meet students' individual classroom needs

Margaret Johnson is working to make her life skills students at Olympia North Elementary School in Danvers, Illinois, more independent. She's using funds from a THF grant to give each of her students their own defined learning space, which will lead to the ability to make more choices on their own.

Margaret Johnson will use THF grant funds to ensure she meets each students' individual classroom needs

"If I could give this project a title it would be, 'Learning to Regulate in My Own Space,'" she wrote in her grant application. "I know that each student has unique individual needs and the things I’m asking for will help meet each one's IEP goals, as each student’s space would be tailored to their interests and emotional and learning needs."

To create these spaces, Johnson plans to purchase sensory tables, chairs, audio players and other items to meet her students' sensory needs.

"My students need their own space for many reasons," she said. "Some of my students are on the Autism Spectrum, and most have low cognitive abilities. When they are given a space that is all their own, they are more comfortable and ready to learn."

She added the individualized learning spaces give her students the space they need for independent learning and audio and sensory items will help when they need time to regroup and regulate. The sensory items can help calm students while exploring and learning and they provide opportunities to practice fine motor skills, improve imaginative play and practice dialogue.

"The items will directly affect the learning environment because they will enable my students to be regulated and create some independence in being able to regulate themselves," Johnson said. "Right now, when my students need a sensory break on a larger scale than using a fidget, they have to leave the room and walk down the hall to spend time in the sensory room. If we had these sensory tables they could get the break they need to feel regulated, and return to learning without a long transition down the hallway.

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