Teachers – please use this letter as you see fit, and edit it as you need to for your personal use. May you have an amazing school year!!
I am so excited to have your child in my class this year! I am going to be using something called “sensory integration” or a “sensory diet” in my classroom this year. No, this does not mean that I am going to be feeding your children or doing anything weird, it simply means that I am going to provide as much opportunity for your child to move and be a kid as possible! Let me explain a little more and tell you how you can help!
There has been a lot of attention lately given to alternative seating options, and the need for kids to move more in the classroom. A sensory diet is simply activities that provide input to a child’s senses (hearing, sight, smell, touch, balance) so that that child can focus and learn better. Sensory integration is simply integrating, or working these activities into my daily classroom routine.
What will this look like?
- Students will NOT be sitting at a desk all day long.
- They will have multiple opportunities to get up and move. Not be crazy and run around the classroom, but purposeful, helpful movements that get them working their muscles.
- There will be alternative seating options, including stretchy bands on their chair legs that allow for mindless movement that provides some opportunity for movement even when they need to sit and focus.
- There will be frequent brain breaks, where they will be asked to exercise their brains in different ways that provide mental breaks and opportunities to come back to required material refreshed and focused.
Sound good? I need your help! You can do specific things at home that can help your child come to school focused and ready to work. If your child has a learning disability, ADHD, or other similar issue, these activities are even MORE important!
Please, if possible, try to have to have your child swing for at least 10 minutes each morning prior to getting on the bus or in the car to come to school. This swinging will help organize the nervous system and provide a calm start to the day. It can also help reduce anxiety if your child is nervous about school!
If at all possible, please limit television and video game time and opt instead for wrestling on the floor, summer saults, jumping jacks and other fun movement activities. You can play games where you name an animal and try to see whether your child can mimic that animal’s movements. This is called animal walks.
Allow your child to help with family chores if possible. Making the bed, clearing the dishes, pulling the laundry basket down to the washing machine, all are helpful activities that provide sensory input at home.
I look forward to a great year with your child!