Make your home page

New sensory room helping students learn at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in Perry Township

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Perry Meridian High School student Kevin Waggoner has created a sensory room at an elementary school in the Perry Township Schools district.

It’s his Boy Scouts Eagle Scout community service project. Waggoner said he wanted to give back to the community in a big way, especially to children with disabilities. The senior has a cousin with special needs.

“I kind of grew up knowing the community and realizing that there was an issue of not a lot of funding that goes toward special needs programs,” the senior at Perry Meridian said.

It took about a year to plan and put the room together. Waggoner said it only took a few weeks to raise about $3,500 for the sensory room at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.

Around 40 students on average stop by the room a day.

“Along the way I would’ve never actually imagined seeing it done because there were so many things that came up, but now that it’s done it’s great to look back and see what I’ve accomplished,” Waggoner said.

The sensory room is for students to take a break and decompress. They can refocus and be better learners before going back to class.

Brooke McDonald, an occupational therapist with Perry Township Schools, said, “It gives them a break when they need that from that more stimulating environment; come down here, take a break so they can calm their sensory systems down or get some movement out.”

McDonald said students with limited mobility and cognition take advantage of the bright colors, activities and visual stimulation inside the room.

“We have weighted balls so if they play with those, they’re getting heavy work; if they get on the scooter, they’re getting that movement and activity,” McDonald said. “Even our magnet board up here has resistance to it so it’s hard to choose an activity in this room that doesn’t give them that sensory input.”

The school said each student must to be with an adult to enter the sensory room. Students spend as little as 10 minutes to an hour in the room with adult supervision.

“I’ve been back a couple times and I’ve gotten to see a couple kids use it and they seem to really enjoy it, so that means a lot.”

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) – School lunches haven’t always been known for being 5-star quality, but now schools are making efforts to change their menus to provide healthier options that kids actually want to eat.

Schools like Perry Township are doing taste tests and updating their menus to offer options that the kids want that also fit the USDA requirements.

“We offer milk, fruit, vegetables, which we offer fresh everyday. As well as a meat, meat alternative and a grain,” says Director of Child Nutrition for Perry Township Schools, Erin Coleman.

Registered dietitian and WISH-TV host Annessa Chumbley says when kids are going through the line it’s important that they add a few items to their tray, “so if there was a checklist I would make sure it includes a fruit, a veggie, and protein.”

Vegetables, they are not the most popular item on the lunch line but the more often they are available the more likely a kid is to put it on their tray.
“The more exposure that you can do, the better,” says Coleman.
“Make those things at home, and also get your kid involved in cooking them. Because I really think and have seen that that helps them want to eat it,” says Chumbley.

Perry Township lets parents and students give feedback on their menu items.

“I think the more feedback we get and the options that we can offer them, and stay up to date with trends and change the menus too, the more participation we get,” says Coleman.

It is not only important that kids eat lunch but that they get some type of protein in. “Lunch is the pivotal point in the day because depending on what you chose you are going to experience the afternoon slump and that is when a lot of kids need to be performing in their day,” says Chumbley.
“They need food for fuel for their brain to get them through the day,” says Coleman.

The USDA requires students to take at least three items from the line two of which have to be a fruit or vegetable.
“We try to pack as much nutrition into a meal as we can to ensure they are at least getting a couple servings of fruits and vegetables a day in case they don’t have that option at home,” says Coleman.

Experts also suggest educating your kids at the grocery store or while you are eating dinner on why fruits and vegetables are important and how they fuel your body. They say this can also help encourage them to make a healthy choice in the lunch line.

Pike defeats Perry Meridian 56-37.

Terre Haute North defeats Perry Meridian 49-44.

Terre Haute South defeats Perry Meridian 79-75.

Perry Meridian defeats Bloomington North 71-56.

Brownsburg defeats Perry Meridian 56-3.

Perry Meridian defeats Terre Haute North 21-12.

Franklin Central defeats Perry Meridian 24-10.

Terre Haute South defeats Perry Meridian 27-24.