Dr. Lisa Hamblen, the principal at Havard Elementary converted a classroom into a Sensory Lab. It is a calming, soothing, interactive environment with developmentally appropriate activities and places to relax, become calm and practice self-regulation– for children (and adults!). Self-regulation is the ability to understand and manage reactions, feelings and emotions. The Sensory Lab also assists students with body awareness, fine and gross motor skills and mindfulness. There are numerous interactive activities to engage all the senses: low/colored lighting, soothing sounds, flexible seating, various textures and interactive activities. The Sensory Lab helps to bridge the gap between the brain and the body- leading to improved emotional regulation.
The creation of the Sensory Lab represents an expression of change in education by addressing emotional and mental health, as well as academics. After the pandemic, like many schools around the world, we noticed an increase in behavioral and mental health concerns. The Sensory Lab was created so that students (and teachers) have a place to go when they need to take a break to help regulate their emotions, by getting the sensory input they need.