This year, a new playground at Sebring B.L. Miller Elementary has created a specialized space for students to provide needed stimulation to support the development and success of the students during the day.
The project began in May 2021, seeking to provide purpose to an underutilized outdoor space, with the intention to create an area to engage the students at B.L. Miller Elementary. As district personnel saw an increase in the identification of sensory needs in students, the area became the target location for a sensory playground.
Sebring’s treasurer and the therapists and special education personnel serving Sebring students collaborated to generate ideas for the space. Through the support of special education funding, the playground came to fruition, opening for B.L. Miller students this school year.
Throughout the year, the students have benefitted from the stimulation of the curated sensory equipment and the support of new communication aids in the playground.
“My students enjoy the more relaxed quiet aspect of the sensory playground,” says Sebring Intervention Specialist Jennifer Baum. “There is not as much commotion as there is on the regular playground.”
Designed for small groups of children, the students have more freedom to crawl, roll, and climb on the sensory playground compared to the traditional playground. A climbing bubble/tunnel, teeter-totter, and mary-go-round support gross motor skill development. There is also an interactive sensory wall with a marble and gear panel. A windchime and xylophone provide auditory stimulation for students.
Not only does the playground provide the sensory input to assist students in managing their day, but it also supports communication development - both through a communication board and by encouraging discussion about their activities. Baum explains, “They are always excited and ready to discuss their adventures when they come in from the play area. Communication is a key area of focus in the resource room!”
Sebring’s sensory playground provides B.L. Miller Elementary students with equipment and resources to support their communication styles and development of gross motor skills.
A xylophone and windchimes provide Sebring elementary students with auditory stimulation on the new sensory playground at B.L. Miller.
Sebring B.L. Miller students play on the building’s new sensory playground.
The sensory playground provides a break for extra stimulation and activity for Sebring B.L. Miller students.
A B.L. Miller student explores the communication board while a classmate bounces on the teeter-totter.