One of the challenges of Active Learning is finding a space that can house all the equipment. Most public school classrooms do not have the luxury of space that is seen at Penrickton Center for Blind Children or at Narbethong State Special School in Australia. Try to keep the most useful equipment for that child in the environment the child is in most often, such as his/her classroom. Putting one eye hook in the ceiling of a classroom, or putting one support structure in the classroom that can hold eye hooks will help provide access to mobility activities/equipment. Improve access in a designated therapy room to house some of the bulkier pieces of equipment and take the child to that room multiple times during the day. Store equipment in the hallways or share equipment between classrooms. Make use of vertical space as much as horizontal space.
However, it never hurts to dream and raise funds. Here are some pictures of what can be done in larger spaces where multiple students can utilize the equipment in a single space throughout the day.
Images of classroom environments at Narbethong State Special School in Queensland, Australia
This first picture shows a panoramic view of a large classroom filled with a variety of Active Learning equipment and environments. At the extreme left we see a Resonance Board setting on several ESSEF Boards with a ball pit on top of it. A variety of objects hang above it from strings. There is also a child swing on a hook with a large drum placed where a child's feet can explore the surface; a number of balls sit on the head of the drum. Other things you can see toward the right portion of the picture include large galvanized metal buckets with objects that can be lowered over a child in a supine position so that they can experiment with vocalizing and manipulating objects.
Click image to view classroom.
In this picture we see how many of the materials are stored within the classroom.
Click image to view classroom.
Active Learning is a natural fit with music therapy! Below is a picture of part of the music therapy room at Penrickton. The auditory and vibratory qualities of musical instruments are very motivating to most students, even those who may have some hearing loss. Below we see items such as hand bells, jingle bells, combs, harp, drum, and various small percussion instruments.
The ESSEF Board can be used to work on leg strength and balance. Below we see to different environments at Penrickton Center where the ESSEF board is used in combination with other equipment. The photo on the left shows it with a hammock swing positioned just above it so the student can experiment with his legs. The photo on the right has the board positioned below a ladder that is attached to a column. This allows the student to stabilize himself as he experiments with pulling up to standing, practicing bouncing and balancing on the ESSEF Board.
In the photo below, there are three large Position Boards on a wall with a variety of objects attached to each one. A Resonance Board is located beneath them with additional objects and toys on it. Some of the items included on the boards includes flexible hose, a small container with a lock and keys attached to it, bristle brushes, bells, scrubbing brushes with long handles, a wooden shape, a weaving hoop, a tambourine, chains, ribbon, beads, toys that light up or make noise, a melmac coffee cup with beads attached inside it, a bunch of metal measuring spoons, and a bundle of metal measuring cups.