A newly opened outdoor sensory space for special education students at Poly High School is continuing to expand thanks to community donations and a soon-to-be-completed wall mural.
During the distance learning period, Indira Jimenez, a special education teacher at Poly, started a campaign to build a safe haven for special education students. The proposed space would be a specially designed area which combines a range of stimuli to help students develop and engage their senses.
“Our more severe students cannot walk into a typical care center on campus,” Jimenez shared. “So I thought of utilizing an empty space on campus.”
With immediate support from staff, Poly’s outdoor sensory space quickly became possible as many donations were received within an hour of Jimenez’ initial email seeking support. Poly staff began purchasing items online and shipping them to the school in order to begin building the space.
The outdoor sensory space recently opened and includes a custom Poly canopy donated by Principal Bill Salas, chairs and several sensory items for students. Now, Jimenez is raising funds for the final touch: a wall mural representing the students.
The proposed mural, “The Tree of Life” by local artist Enrique Brito, is designed specifically for special education students and features international handicap symbols and butterflies. Brito has also invited Poly students and teachers to help paint the mural. Read more at lbpost.com.
To date, the outdoor sensory space has proven to be successful.
“Many of our non-verbal students now have a picture of the space on their communication device and request to go there when they need a break or when they need their sensory needs met,” Jimenez said. “My hope is that more schools find a space on campus and convert it into a haven for special education students.”