What is the Base and Sensory Room?
Our Base and Sensory Room are areas designed specifically for children who are having difficulties coping with their day.
The reasons for children having difficulties can be many, but to each child, their issue is the most important thing in their life at that time. Children with worries on their minds are less able to concentrate in the classroom and engage in learning.
For some, it can affect their ability to engage with their classmates, or the adults within the classroom. At other times children may feel angry or sad and be unable to control outbursts. However, their issues manifest themselves, they need help and understanding.
Bearing this in mind, we aim to offer the child individual attention and the time to talk about their issues in a relaxed and completely supportive, empathic and non-judgemental environment. Firstly, The Base doesn’t look like a traditional classroom. It is spacious and has a soft seating area where we can talk one-to-one quietly with pupils about what may be troubling them. Given time to simply sit quietly for a while with a soft toy or cushion to squeeze, or a fleecy throw to cuddle up in is often enough and the child is happy to return to class. When this is not the case we find that with time the décor, setting and a quiet, calm atmosphere helps the child relax enough to discuss their worries with an adult.
Our new Sensory Room was installed in December 2019 and is now welcoming children who need time to become calm and relaxed. There are times when talking may not help and this is when children are offered the opportunity to have some time in the Sensory Room to relieve the stress and/or anxiety they are experiencing. We have found that 10 to 15 minutes works wonders.
There is always an adult on duty in The Base – from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm – so your child will never be left alone.
If a member of staff feels a pupil needs ‘time out’ they can send the child to The Base. The adult completes a referral slip briefly explaining the reason why. Alternatively, the child may ask for ‘time out’ if they feel unable to stay in the classroom or on the playground for any reason. Again, the teacher will send the referral slip with the child. We aim to ensure that children are always accompanied to The Base by either an adult or a trusted classmate. By making sure the child is always with someone, we hope to help the child feel they are never alone.
The overriding aim of The Base is to positively address the child’s issues and help them return to the classroom and social learning environment as soon as possible. Where this proves inappropriate or contrary to the needs of the child, The Base is set up to allow the pupil the opportunity to complete their work without having to return to the lesson. In addition to the soft seating area, we have a large, colourful table for group work or working individually with the help of an adult. There are laptop computers to enable pupils to continue or complete work requiring the use of ICT.
Finally, there is a carrel with four individual seating booths for pupils to complete work in private – either by their own choice or by the suggestion of the adult on duty in The Base. The Base also opens onto a beautiful courtyard area where there are shrubs, flowers and a pond with a trickling water feature. Well maintained gravel, paving and seating areas are available when we feel the need to get outside for fresh air.
In all, we hope that children who are struggling feel supported and that their concerns are being addressed. We also hope parents and carers feel confident that we are doing our utmost to ensure their child is receiving the best possible personalised care whilst at Weatherfield.