As part of the Zones of Regulation curriculum, the SEL committee has been working to provide a variety of calm and/or focus tools for each classroom. One that we are especially pleased to offer are weighted lap pads and weighted shoulder pads. The pictures above and below are of our new weighted lap pads, which were delivered to classrooms this week.
QAE mom, Jenny Bartoy, hand-made the weighted items. Jenny has a home-based business of hand crafted fiber art and textile goods. Jenny had never made weighted items, but was willing to experiment to find the best fabrics, sizes, and weights for classroom use (Mistakes are Welcome Here!). Not only did Jenny succeed, she did an fabulous job. The lap pads are colorful, durable, easily washable, and feel great. You can find more of her work at her Etsy store, or through her website: www.jennybartoy.com.
Teachers will make the pads available for children to experiment with during class time. For many kids (and adults too), weighted items are amazingly calming. Kids who have sensory integration struggles, kids who have lots of 'the wiggles', or kids who suffer with anxiety often find the pressure very soothing, and that they are better able to focus for longer stretches. (Weighted items engage proprioceptive and tactile sensory systems.) But all kinds of kids & grown-ups like weighted items.
Weighted items are best when matched to the weight of each child. A good rule of thumb for weighted items is that the item is 10% of a child's weight plus one pound. So a child who weighs 80 lbs. would use a 9 lb. weighted item. For classrooms, Jenny made items in three weights: small (K), medium (1-3), & medium-large (4-5). They are filled with rice in a fabric insert, and have a cotton cover that can be washed separately.
Other types of weighted items are vests and blankets. Blankets can be used for sleep, and occupational therapists report that many parents find that their child sleeps more deeply and is better rested the next day when they use a weighted blanket for sleep. You can purchase a variety of weighted items from specialty education, such as www.funandfunction.com. There are also many websites that offer instructions on how to make weighted items at home.
QAE kids will be introduced to the lap pads over the next week or so, during class meetings. Ask your child if they have tried one, and what they noticed while using it.
co-Chair, SEL Committee