Sean Dunleavy CEO of SmallWall from Kilconly, Tuam Co. Galway and Sarah McGinley principal of St. Josephs Special School, Newcastle Galway, have teamed up together to come up with a solution to Inclusion and social distancing once children and staff return to school. “I cried when I saw them, I have been looking for something like this to bring into the schoolyard long before covid19. In a busy playground, it’s important to respect that some children need a safe, quiet and cosy space where they can relax and have time out. Some will use the space to engage in self-regulation and practice their calming techniques if they are finding the playground overwhelming.” said Sarah
This is particularly true for children with autism and people with sensory difficulties. By having a section of the playground devoted to a hub of cosy cocoons children know they have a safe space to use should they need it. They do not need to go inside to find a calm space. The cosy cocoons if set up in a circle can also provide a space where a small class can be outside together for reading times. Children can relax with a book in the cocoons out of the noise of the wind in a comfortable position off the ground.
Most ASD classes have 6 pupils, so it is worth bearing in mind that having cocoons placed in a circle will create a multipurpose area on the playground - an outdoor classroom can be created quite easily. Since January SmallWall has engaged with schools showcasing our new range of products designed especially for schools and their budgets. Our climbing products are a big hit in all schools done to date with a recent study carried out by Claddagh N.S earned them top awards at the National Expo recently.
Our products, unlike other climbing products, work below the critical fall height, typical installation can be done in a few hours. “I’m delighted to be able to work with Sarah and to be able to take her ideas and turn them into a product that works,” says Sean. It’s something we thrive on here at SmallWall. Fortunately, over the years I have accumulated a certain range of skills and experience that helps me understand teachers’ and children’s needs, with 6 children and a foster parent I’m always coming up with new ideas to keep them entertained and involved. “It’s like having my own test centre in the back yard, “says Sean.
For a full list of SmallWall products visit www.smallwall.ie. We also provide free one to one advisory on solutions for schools. Call Sean on 0879233653 to schedule a meeting.
( Smallwall is a product design company that designs , develops and manufactures affordable products for schools. Stated up in 2019 Smallwall has engaged with schools and have developed a suite of products that are focussed on developing basic fundamental movements as well as offering a came safe place within the playground. All products are made from both recycled material and recyclable material and SmallWall also installs to schools specifications. www.smallwall.ie https://www.facebook.com/smallwallproducts )