first_imgVikkilynn Rolfs realized she needed to take a different approach.Instead of relying on traditional forms of teaching in the day care center at Open House Ministries, a shelter for homeless families on 12th Street in Vancouver, Rolfs has opted for a more modern approach.That includes using sensory toys to teach and calm the children. In May, Open House won a $5,000 grant from the Vancouver Energy Community Fund to support the day care’s “sensory calming project.” Rolfs, the day care director, used the money to bolster the center’s selection of sensory toys. She still has about $1,000 left to spend.“These kids just weren’t getting it,” said Rolfs, who has also taught kindergarten. “I thought, ‘Let’s just approach it differently. Let’s make everything sensory. Give them things to play with, so everything seems like a game instead of sitting and learning.’ ”The new sensory toys include building block magnets that come in different shapes, a pad that changes colors when kids step on it ,and a table that lights up as kids roll sensory beads around its top.There are also weighted pads that kids can press on and lay across their laps. That’s in addition to the weighted vests that can help calm kids who are having a tough time. The pads and vests are used for both education and peacekeeping.last_img read more