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'Wiggle Room' Grant lets children burn extra energy

TYLER, May 20, 2013--Sometimes, sitting still is one of the most difficult tasks asked of young students.  That’s why, the Tyler ISD Foundation trialed a “Wiggle Room” grant—so that students could have a place to let off that pent up energy and get back to their lessons.

The grant, written and submitted last fall by Diana Koop, school counselor at Rice Elementary, is now being considered for expansion due to the high level of success.

“The Wiggle Room is a lab that is structured to provide sensory and/or motor breaks for students who need a sensory/motor outlet outside of scheduled physical education and recess,” says Koop.  “This room has helped them focus and stay on task in the classroom.”

“The Foundation grant donors funded activity stations geared toward five areas of sensory/motor function: Processing, Vestibular, Gross Motor, Fine Motor and Tactile,” explained Larry Goddard, Ph.D., executive director of the Foundation.

Between 75 to 100 students were involved with this grant.  Goddard says that the Foundation’s grant committee is considering adding to the “The Wiggle Room” for next fall.

“When this grant was submitted, it was scored high grading by our very strict standard of grading,” said Goddard.  “Everyone can relate to the concept of getting out of their work station and going to a room to ‘let it all out’.  That energy, then can be brought back to the classroom in a quiet manner.  I think we all need Wiggle Rooms in the workplace.”

“We have found Ms. Koop to be one of the finest educators to earn a grant from the Foundation in recent history,” said Chris Jones, chair, grants committee.  “Success is not just purchasing the equipment—it is having a competent educator with enthusiasm to make the theory work and work well.  We have that with Diana Koop.”

To make donations to the Tyler ISD Foundation and provide other funding for classroom grants or other programs, please mail a check payable to ‘Tyler ISD Foundation, 315 N. Broadway, Suite 401, Tyler, Texas 75702’ or going online to donate securely at foundation/tylerisd.org.

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