IT-driven sensory learning at Dorking school

St Johns, Dorking, discovery room 2018

Immersive discovery room.

THE NEW Wooden Spoon Discovery Room at St John’s Church of England Primary School is an immersive sensory classroom providing a comprehensive range of IT-driven sensory learning experiences which give the children opportunities to be transported to the world beyond their local estate – stretching their sense of awe, understanding and wonder.

St John’s is situated within the Holmwood Ward to the South of Dorking, Surrey, and has 28% of children attending with special educational needs – primary needs include emotional and social disadvantage, ASD and mental ill health. The school has a specialist, outstanding ‘Nurture Room’ called ‘The Orchard’ which is situated directly opposite the new Wooden Spoon Discovery Room. Children who have attachment difficulties and struggle emotionally and behaviourally attend from St John’s and other local schools on a daily basis.

Funded through a donation from Wooden Spoon Surrey, this unique room features fully immersive sensory projection, seating, sound, scent and lighting equipment to support and stimulate children’s development and learning. The room benefits children who face significant disadvantages helping them to develop their self-esteem, confidence, emotional well-being and learning. Sessions are led every day during term time by experienced practitioners, qualified to give the children a safe space in which to grow and develop. Outside of school hours the room is being used by specialist charities and organisations who support children and young people with special needs.

St John's, Dorking, discovery room 2018

IT-driven discovery room can display a variety of interactive scenes.

The opening ceremony with Wooden Spoon Surrey Honorary President John Inverdale commenced with a full school assembly where some of the children explained what benefits they had already gained from using the Discovery Room. John then enthralled them with entertaining examples of how discovering what goes on in other parts of the world can open up a host of stimulating and life-changing experiences. He then ‘cut the tape’ before being interviewed by one of the pupils for the inaugural broadcast of the school’s new in-house radio station.

Wooden Spoon Surrey Chairman, Brian Hodges said; “We are absolutely delighted to have been able to support this fantastic Discovery Room project which will do so much to enhance the learning experiences of the pupils. It was great to see the whole school participate in celebrating the official opening and, in particular, to hear from all the children of the enjoyment and benefits they’ve already got from using the Discovery Room.”

Interested in finding out more about the work of Wooden Spoon Surrey and how you can get involved? Contact