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East Grinstead Lions raise money for school sensory club

By East Grinstead Courier  |  Posted: July 12, 2012

learning aids: Back from left, teaching assistant Helen Smith, teacher Rebecca Thompson and teaching assistant Sam Richens with pupils enjoying the new sensory equipment REPV20120710B-001_C

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A FUNDRAISING group has helped children at an East Grinstead school to explore their senses.

East Grinstead and District Lions has donated £200 towards equipment for a new sensory club at Estcots Primary School.

The new goodies, which include toys and games of various colours and textures, will enable Key Stage 1 pupils to explore and experiment in a one-to-one environment.

Sessions are run once or twice a week during lunchtime at the school in Bourge-De-Peage Avenue, and since their launch three months ago, results have been positive.

Teaching assistant Sam Richens said: "Mainstream primary schools don't generally have these resources available to them. It's not something that is done day to day.

"We started with nine children in the club, but we cut it down to five because the smaller the ratio, the bigger the benefit. We really get involved with them.

"We do a lot of messy play activities, where the children can really get stuck in and it doesn't matter. We also have a lot of toys with different textures and things that are visual.

"In a couple of cases we have had children who have had a tough morning, but they have come here at lunch and have gone on to have a brilliant afternoon. For us, as teachers, we are able to learn an awful lot about the children and the way they learn."

Miss Richens, who used to be a tutor at Step by Step School for Autistic Children in Sharpthorne, added: "Sensory time is a massive part of what Step By Step does, so I have brought my skills and knowledge to Estcots. It gives them that feeling of freedom and they don't feel under pressure."

Each year, East Grinstead and District Lions raises thousands of pounds for local causes such as schools, groups and senior citizens' events.

Miss Richen's father, Brian Richens, of the Lions, said: "Children are our future and if we don't look after them, where are we going to be 20 years from now?

"This is an example of us dealing with causes at the end of each spectrum – we do a lot for children and a lot for the elderly."

The school is believed to be the only one in East Grinstead with such equipment and staff are keen for the sensory club to continue and expand.

To see how the club is run, contact the school on 01342 327473.

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