Guernsey Press

Final sensory room open at Le Rondin

THE fourth and final sensory room has been officially opened at Le Rondin School, marking the conclusion of a project which started in 2015.

Joshua Northmore and Caitlin Sullivan in the fourth and final sensory room at Le Rondin School, which uses virtual reality software. (Picture by Cassidy Jones, 29691852)

Since then the school has raised £150,000 for the rooms, each of which provides a unique experience for the students.

There is a soft play area, a hydrotherapy room with interactive lights and sounds and a ‘white room’ providing interactive sensory experiences.

Virtual reality technology is at the heart of the final addition, which turns the room into something resembling the Holodeck as seen in many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and its successors.

This creates interactive environments around the walls of the room and on the floor and can take the occupants to hundreds of different locations.

One on display to guests at the opening took them under the sea and children showed how the many fish swimming around could be interacted with.

Another program showed the Arctic, while a third let children draw graffiti on virtual walls.

The new addition was opened by Lt-Governor Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, who was joined by Lady Corder and other guests who had been involved with the fundraising.

Parents, Staff and Friends Association secretary Yvonne Hodder has been involved with the project since it started and project-managed the new room.

She said it was hoped that all four would become available to more than pupils.

‘Hopefully this is a community resource,’ she said. ‘It’s not just something that’s exclusively available to children.’

Working out how to make the facilities available to others will be her next task.

Mrs Hodder said a number of groups and companies had contributed to the sensory rooms project, with the latest one predominantly benefiting from the support of Lloyds Bank Foundation for the Channel Islands, the John Ramplin Trust and the Guernsey Community Foundation.

Sir Ian and the guests were treated to a musical presentation upon their arrival at the school, featuring the debut of the school’s new Soundbeam instruments.

This is a technology that turns movements into music and allowed two children to join a teacher in performing Summertime before the visitors were given a tour of all of the rooms.