Every student who attends the new Shelbyville Central Schools Golden Bear Preschool, set to open at the start of the 2019-20 school year, will have access to the new SENSES facility being designed inside the old Marsh building.
That’s the biggest takeaway for Holly Forville, director of SENSES, as anticipation for the new location continues to build.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said. “When
we first started I wasn’t sure how the community was going to accept the idea. They’ve really rallied around us.”
SENSES was originally started for her grandson, she said. The facility opened in 2016 at its current location, 1110 Amos Road, Suite A, in Shelbyville.
“It has exploded from that to reaching so many children,” she said of the indoor sensory playground for children ages 1-6. The facility is a positive environment especially for children with autism, sensory processing disorders, ADHD, Down’s syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome.
Now, the new location will give access to the children in the 15 preschool classrooms, who will be able to use the space on a regular basis. That would not have been possible without the partnership with Shelbyville Central Schools, she said.
“We could not have asked for a better situation,” said Forville. “The partnership was a brilliant idea by Dr. (David) Adams. It’s perfect. It’s seamless.”
The new space will feature an 18x20 loft that will have “lots of unique equipment,” she said. It will include a wheelchair lift that will make it more accessible for students and parents. There will also be a double slide that she said will probably lead into a ball pit.
SENSES also will have sensory swings that will be soothing to students with disabilities, particularly those with autism.
Underneath the loft will be a 10x10 room with free-floating pool noodles that students will be able to hide in and go through.
“I think it’s going to be a super addition to the space,” she said.
The new location also will include smaller areas for students who are overstimulated and need some quiet time, as well as a light room for visual stimulation.
For more information on SENSES, visit sensesgym.org.