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In Pictures: Laois secondary school gets its own ‘Narnia’ as sensory room opened

Clonaslee College
Some of the large attendance at the official opening of 'Narnia' the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College. Picture: Alf Harvey.

A Laois secondary school enjoyed a brilliant day recently as its brand new sensory room was officially opened.

Clonaslee College is a school set in the scenic foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Laois.

The school itself was cleverly designed to create a state of serenity for the 200 students currently enrolled.

Under the patronage of Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB), Clonaslee College is co-educational and multi-denominational.

As with other areas in Ireland, the tentacles of Covid reached into this small community, disrupting education and making the last two years challenging for all aspects of student and local life.

Now, in a post-pandemic environment, the school is once again back to face-to-face tuition for their students.

Recognising the negative impact of Covid-19 on students through social lockdowns and school closures, the staff of Clonaslee Community College have created a space where students can be offered a quiet, distraction-free zone.

A new sensory room, named Narnia by the students, has been developed within the school.

The room contains a state-of-the-art sensory pod, a sensorial space with seating, a cave area to relax in with hexagonal tables to work at, all built within a bespoke woodland theme surrounding.

The pod provides a safe and calming environment, featuring colour changing sensory ceiling, Vibromatt vibration sensory mattress, and a multimedia system through which music and sounds can be created and programmed to meet each student’s individual need.

The new sensory room is an inclusive room that can be utilised by all members of the student body, from those that have individual and special needs, through to students completing the state examinations this year and require some relaxing downtime to alleviate anxiety and stress.

TD Josepha Madigan, Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion, visited the school, met with the students and staff, and formally opened the new sensorial room on Friday March 11.

The Minister also celebrated the exciting news of the recent Department of Education & Science approval for the building of two new ASD classes, an Art room and a Graphics room for Clonaslee College.

Photographer Alf Harvey was on hand to capture the best pictures on the day:

Principal Suzanne McMahon; Molly Buckley LOETB Board member; Cllr Conor Bergin, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council and Cllr Robert McDermott, chairman LOETB Board with Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD cutting the tape at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Students who designed the wall and students who have worked on an anti bullying project pictured with principal Suzanne McMahon and Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD meets Declan Qualter, LOETB school support co-ordinator at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Students who designed the wall at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Head girl Niamh Donogher and head boy Aodh Bowes make a presentation to Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Deputy principal John Lee, Eddie Donogher, Made by Ed and Pat Corbett, Clonaslee Community Development at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Musicians Edel Conway, Emmett Kelly Cusack and Isabella Hogan with teacher Ms Strong at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Some of the large attendance at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Some of the large attendance at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
5th year student Daniel Baker speaking at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Principal Suzanne McMahon with Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Principal Suzanne McMahon with Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Principal Suzanne McMahon with Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD meeting students at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Minister of State at the Department of Education Josepha Madigan TD meeting students at the official opening of ‘Narnia’ the Sensory Room at Clonaslee College.
Picture: Alf Harvey.

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