Learning Through Play
Group play for young children includes varied sensory experiences, which offers important lessons in making connections and self-regulation.
Communication Works’ SENSE-ational Connections helps children experience the importance and joys of making friends and being part of a group, while identifying individual regulation strategies. Sessions allow students to explore different avenues to meet their various sensory needs. In this nurturing environment, activities are designed to promote self-regulation, as well as to support children in learning how to be part of a group and connect with their peers.
Each session incorporates a weekly theme and includes:
- Circle Time – music, sharing, and thinking about each other
- Gross-Motor Action and Sensory Play – exploring the senses and regulation strategies, including The Zones of Regulation™
- Sensory or Social Learning Games and Lessons – activities related to a daily theme that ties in social learning concepts
- Parent/Caregiver Wrap-up – discussion of a specific social learning concept to practice at home and review of ways to support regulation
Groups meet throughout the school year and during the summer. Each group includes 2–4 students and meets for 45 or 60 minutes, 1–2 times a week. Groups end with parent/caregiver wrap-up and training with the lead therapist.
Groups are geared for children age 3 years or older who have near-average cognitive skills and awareness of others around them. Children may lack motor coordination and may have sensory regulation disorders and/or social cognitive challenges. These groups are designed to meet the needs of kids who are often described as “always on the go” or “always dragging their feet.”
Although the program explores a wide range of topics, some central lessons may include:
Understanding Emotions and Zones – Students are taught how to identify emotions in themselves, as well as in others. Students learn to categorize their emotions and states of arousal into 4 Zones to help them describe how they are feeling.
Following the Plan – Students learn to regulate their bodies, look for clues about what they are “expected” to do to stay with the group, and how to respectfully share their ideas to add to the plan and fun!
“Children learn by doing, and play is their work.” -Author Unknown