Teachers and students at the Forest Hill Elementary School Junior campus in St-Lazare are now able to build some of the tools they need due to a recent grant from Canada Post Community Foundation.
“I was looking for a way to increase our ability to provide our students with individualized tools,” resources teacher Jennifer Nichols told Global News.
She used the grant, which was just over $4,000, to buy a 3D printer. They are building sensory tools for her students.
“Mostly we use them in elementary schools in class for kids that have trouble, say, focusing, where they need to fidget around they need to keep moving,” Nichols explained.
“By touching and manipulating them, it allows them to focus on what they’re doing while still being able to move, touch things and get that need out.”
She said some things the school needs — such as items similar to a fidget spinner, which helps students concentrate — aren’t available in stores. Principal Lisa Larente said the printer will help fill a void.
“Well, we’re so lucky because it allows us to have specialized equipment that really follows along with our curriculum” she noted.
The teachers can also make other things like dinosaur kits for kids with learning challenges. The students are getting involved, expressing their own needs and helping to design those tools.
By making their own products in the building, the school also saves money.
“We don’t have to go out and hope something exists, find it and then pay however much — sometimes $50 for a kit,” Nichols explained.
Nichols added that making them isn’t difficult because there are design programs that are available for free. Both she and her colleagues hope other schools start doing the same.