In education, teachers are always working to improve how they teach to make learning better for pupils. One approach that has gained momentum in recent years is multisensory learning, a concept that lies at the heart of Japari School’s innovative approach. It is one that makes Japari School very unique.
Often pupils are able to engage in work but may get overstimulated by many distractions in the classroom. Our sensory boxes or blocks give them space to control their environment and bring them back to the task at hand. These boxes bring a sense of calm, regulation, and mindfulness.
In this blog, we delve into the power of multisensory learning, particularly focusing on Japari School’s unique use of sensory blocks to cultivate a rich and engaging educational environment.
Understanding Multisensory Learning at Japari School
Defining Multisensory Learning
Multisensory learning, as embraced by Japari School, involves the integration of two or more senses into the learning process.
Beyond the conventional auditory and visual modes, Japari recognizes the importance of incorporating tactile (touch), olfactory (smell), and gustatory (taste) elements. This holistic approach recognizes the diverse ways pupils absorb and process information.
Benefits of Multisensory Learning
Activating multiple senses simultaneously engages various areas of the brain, allowing pupils to engage with learning material and develop strong neural connections in the brain.
The important values of multisensory learning include:
These are great principles that Japari School embeds in our curriculum.
Addressing Diverse Learning Needs
Japari School recognises the efficacy of multisensory learning in catering to the unique needs of pupils, including those with learning difficulties like Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Dyslexia.
By accommodating different learning styles, Japari ensures that every pupil can access the curriculum in a way that best suits their preferences. This adaptability contributes to a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.
Pupils are able to take time away to work on their sensory blocks and once they feel confident to come back into the classroom setting, they will feel more comfortable and focused to work.
Read more on our blogs
The Role of Sensory Blocks in Japari’s Multisensory Approach
Foundations of Sensory Blocks
At the heart of Japari School’s multisensory strategy are sensory blocks—tactile, visually stimulating objects designed to engage a child’s senses in a meaningful way.
These blocks serve as versatile tools that can be incorporated across various subjects and age groups.
Our blocks are given to each pupil and include:
- Fidget toys.
- Play dough.
- Stress ball.
- Squish toy.
Enhancing Numeracy with Blocks
In the early foundation years at Japari School, numeracy is introduced through concrete items like numicon blocks.
Pupils interact with these blocks to grasp mathematical concepts, fostering a tangible connection between abstract ideas and physical objects.
As they manipulate the blocks, the sensory experience enhances their understanding and retention of numerical concepts.
Please read our blog on: Discovering Numicon: A Hands-on Approach to Math Learning
Learning Maths through place cards is another method Japari School uses to help aid pupils in developing understanding of numerical concepts through using physical objects.
Read our blog on: How do place value cards develop pupils’ Mathematics?
Phonics and Language Development
Japari takes a novel approach to phonics education by integrating sensory blocks. Magnetic letters, part of the sensory block boxes, can become building blocks for word creation and decoding.
The sensory triangle comes to life as pupils audibly pronounce letter sounds, trace the letters for tactile engagement, and visually observe the letters in action. Adding an extra layer, tactile materials like sand may be used to trace letters, incorporating the sense of touch into the learning process.
Movement and Multisensory Fusion
Japari School encourages a dynamic learning environment by incorporating movement into multisensory activities.
Pupils may tap out or hop to the rhythm of sounds in a word, integrating kinesthetic learning into the process. This not only deepens their understanding but also makes learning an active and enjoyable experience.
Implementing Multisensory Learning Across Japari School
Holistic Integration Across Grades
Japari School doesn’t confine multisensory learning to specific grades or subjects. Instead, it advocates for its integration across the entire school system.
Whether in the early years or upper grades, teachers at Japari embrace multisensory techniques, recognising them as a simple yet transformative remedy that significantly impacts the learning journey.
Professional Development and Training
To ensure the seamless implementation of multisensory learning, Japari School invests in ongoing professional development for its educators.
Teachers are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to create multisensory-rich lesson plans that cater to the diverse needs of their pupils.
Parental Involvement and Understanding
Japari School believes in forging a strong partnership with parents to reinforce multisensory learning beyond the classroom.
Create your own multisensory space at home for your child.
Let’s look at a few ideas within each sensory system that are accessible in many homes or can be purchased easily.
This can be done in a corner of your child’s room or a specific space in the home. Remember to make sure that this does not become a repetitive approach e.g., “You are not listening and being naughty, go to your calm down space.” but rather “I see you are feeling a bit upset / angry / frustrated, should we go and explore your sensory space and see what will make you feel better?”
We have categorised this into all the senses we have.
- Fairy lights
- LED strips that change colour.
- Reduced pictures or posters on the wall .
- Black-out curtains.
- Night light.
- A closed-off tent or fort made with chairs and linen.
- DIY Glitter jars.
- A fiddler box – poppets, bubble wrap, pipe cleaners, stress balls, sponges, putty or playdough.
- Weighted blankets, happy huggers, weighted toys.
- Soft toys.
- Hot water bottle.
- Music – Bluetooth speaker or earphones
- Noise cancelling headphones, or headphones which cover the ears and will dull external sound
- Crunchy snacks – popcorn, nuts, biltong
- Silicone chewers/chewable jewellery
- Chewing gum
Most people associate smell with experiences, and these are very individualised.
If you choose to use essential oils or diffuses in your sensory space it would be specific to the needs of the person.
- Gym ball (to bounce on, roll over, sit on etc)
- Mini trampoline
- Downward dog
The Transformative Impact of Japari’s Multisensory Approach
Fostering a Love for Learning
Japari School’s commitment to multisensory learning goes beyond academic gains; it cultivates a genuine love for learning. By making education a multisensory adventure, students at Japari develop a curiosity and enthusiasm that extends beyond the confines of traditional teaching methods.
Building Lifelong Skills
The skills acquired through Japari’s multisensory approach transcend the classroom. Pupils develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability—the very skills essential for navigating an ever-evolving world. The multisensory foundation laid at Japari becomes a scaffold for lifelong learning.
Creating Inclusive Learning Spaces
Japari School’s emphasis on inclusivity through multisensory learning creates a welcoming environment for all pupils. By acknowledging and accommodating diverse learning styles, Japari ensures that every pupil can thrive, fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance.
Conclusion: Japari School’s Multisensory Legacy
In the world of education, Japari School uses new and creative ideas to help pupils reach their full potential.
Our commitment to multisensory learning, with a special emphasis on sensory blocks, showcases a transformative approach that is different to traditional teaching boundaries.
Japari School aims to help pupils navigate stimulating environments and enables them to learn to cope and learn from these environments. The main aim for our pupils is to feel comfortable, confident and ready to work. That is why we have sensory areas and sensory blocks to work with in our classrooms.
Our dedicated teachers ensure that every child feels included and grows in their own way with the help of multisensory approaches.