May 4, 2023

Dear Harbor Families,

First, a thank you in advance for picking up your kids at noon tomorrow for our professional development afternoon. I hope this letter will help shed light on why these afternoons are so very important to your child’s education!

You may recall mention, in a previous letter, of a focus area and project that began at Harbor much earlier in the school year - to further develop our tools, strategies, and professional knowledge about sensory-friendly classrooms. Since the fall, we have been working with Brigid Baker, Occupational Therapist and Director of Clinical Programs from the Treatment and Learning Centers, on what one might call a “sensory audit” of the school. Having worked with Brigid pre-pandemic on some of the same goals, we were excited to collaborate with her on a year-long project to take our understanding and strategies for sensory-friendly classrooms to another level!

Coordinated by our learning specialist Ashley Howard, over the course of the school year, Brigid has visited classrooms, met with teachers on several occasions, and advised us on purchases to bolster options for sensory integration in the classroom and beyond. During our March half day for professional development, Brigid provided professional development for our faculty on the types of sensory input needs that we all have as human beings, and how to best integrate tools and strategies for individuals and groups of students in day to day learning. Following further discussions with teachers after this training, she helped us develop a list of tools to purchase. Items on our order include weighted lap blankets, fidgets, flexible seating options, and even a trampoline. This list was curated by Ashley Howard and orders are coming in for teachers to explore and discuss, with Brigid’s expert guidance, during tomorrow’s professional development afternoon - and to put to use in the classrooms starting next week!

This opportunity to work with Brigid has served as a way to build on already established strengths of the school and our teachers, who are adept at integrating sensory input and movement breaks into classroom learning every day.  Our consultant relationship with Brigid, as well as purchases of new sensory tools was funded by an anonymous donation, for which we are so grateful!

Please feel free to reach out to me or to Ashley with any questions you may have about sensory-friendly classrooms and our work to analyze and build upon our practices. We would be happy to share more about how this benefits all children as they grow and develop!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School