Albany’s Sherwood Acres Elementary unveils new S.P.A.C.E. room

Albany’s Sherwood Acres Elementary unveils new S.P.A.C.E. room
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:34 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) — Sherwood Acres Elementary is announcing its new S.P.A.C.E. room. It is aimed at helping kids control their emotions and calm down.

S.P.A.C.E stands for Sensory, Place, and Calm Environment. Here students get a chance to engage with all their senses so that they can recognize their feelings.

This new initiative was in the planning phase for a year and cost nearly $75,000 to launch.

“We really saw a rise in the need for a space center here at Sherwood during the pandemic. And afterward with students learning how to control their emotions, learning how to be able to communicate their feelings. So, we saw that really post-pandemic and during the pandemic,” Dawn Johnson, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher at Sherwood Acres Elementary School, said.

The S.P.A.C.E. room includes all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. The room also has virtual reality, dance games and a massage chair for students and teachers.

“I’ve learned over the years that our students have needs ranging from the alphabet A-Z. Our students need love, support and they have to learn skills to help them throughout life. Whether it’s learning how to follow rules, learning self-esteem, and basic needs such as hygiene and personal care,” school counselor William Wright said.

Second grader, Charles Bromley, wants all students to experience this unique opportunity to relax and decompress.

“I love this place more than any school. And if any kids in the world right now wanted to come here, they would have an amazing time,” Bromley said.

Many students WALB spoke to said they can recognize when they need a break. They use their time to decompress and can visit anytime throughout the day.

“My favorite thing about school is my math teacher. I feel like he is the best teacher in fifth grade. And about the S.P.A.C.E. room, I feel like the punching bag is the best thing I can take advantage of,” Raiden James, 5th grader at Sherwood Acres Elementary, said.

The S.P.A.C.E. room is for teaching students to recognize their feelings first. And for being able to express themselves in healthy ways.

“Let’s see there is a lot of stuff I can do to calm down. Take a walk, play a little bit, and if Mr. Wright will let me, the virtual reality simulator,” Charles Bromley said.

This is just the beginning of this new addition. Dawn Johnson helped apply for the grant to build the space room.

“Here at Sherwood, we are pioneering to make sure that our students are very prepared for high school, college, and the real world as they learn how to manage their emotions and be successful in life,” Johnson said.

School leaders have also created small sensory spaces within each classroom as well as the larger space room. They want to continue and expand.