EOCF has experienced a significant increase in the number of children who have trouble navigating their environment. As children develop, they explore with their senses (sights, smell, hearing, taste, touch, and movement). For some children this can cause an overload of information and they don’t know how to process what they are experiencing. This can look like:
- Difficulty listening
- Trouble with tags in their clothes
- May not like to be cuddled or tickled
- Sensitive to loud sounds/environments
- Chews/places items in mouth
- May put shoes on the wrong feet
- May not like the feel of some things
- Trouble sitting still
- Hard time understanding personal space
- Picky eating
- Having a hard time with touch (either too hard or too soft)
- Trouble focusing and/or concentrating
- Sensitivity to smells
- Have trouble dressing
- May not like to go barefooted
- Trouble with fine motor activities
- Trouble making eye contact
- May walk too hard or too soft (on tip toes)
Children with this challenge can benefit by using special tools designed to help them focus so that they can learn well. EOCF staff made a goal to provide one Sensory Kit that includes ten supportive items for each of our 62 preschool classrooms. Supplies include weighted lap pads, balls and toy animals, sensory and stress/fidget balls, chewy toys and noise cancelling headphones.
EOCF’s board of directors planned to meet this need for Sensory Kits and hosted the “Red & White on a Summer’s Night” fundraiser at Bethany Vineyard and Winery in Ridgefield. All proceeds from this event went to purchase sensory tools. Additional community donations came through the Give More 24! online fundraiser sponsored by the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington. EOCF thanks these generous community members for helping all children learn.
Supplies have been ordered, kits have been assembled and placed, classroom staff have been trained. We have received very positive feedback from children, parents and staff! Many children will be strengthened in their ability to learn.