North Tonawanda’s kindergarten-grade three elementary school, Spruce Elementary, received funding from the Remember Ryan Foundation to create a sensory room. Social worker Amy Gorman and school counselors Alyssa Gierke and Christopher Zon worked to create a sensory room designed to help students regulate their emotions.
“Our goal was to create a calming room to help students stay in control of their emotions in a safe and controlled environment, so they are able to transition back to class,” Gierke said.
The sensory room is a therapeutic and recreational room designed to provide stimulation through auditory and visual relaxation.
The theme of the room is space. The school nicknamed the room the “Calming Space.” It includes a variety of activities to help regulate emotions, such as soothing music, colored lighting, sensory objects and a hammock swing. The calming atmosphere was provided by putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, adding string lights, and decorating the room with planets and stars.
The sensory room was funded by the Remember Ryan Foundation in memory of Ohio Elementary’s student Ryan Bertini, who passed away at the age of 8. He is strongly remembered by the continual grants his foundation provides to many schools across Western New York. The foundation aims to provide education to students in elementary schools through visual and performing arts.
Ryan will be remembered as students walk into the “Calming Space” as his name stands on a plaque next to the entrance.
Thanks was additionally extended to the Bertini family for providing “Calming Space” for the students at Spruce Elementary.