Six-year-old Will Bourke likes the igloo. He likes the cushions and the books. He likes being able to just sit and play with his favourite toy, a little lava lamp-like device where he can watch the coloured water flow through.
"It helps me be calm," he said. "I feel better when I come out."
The igloo is a sensory space in his Year 1 classroom at Theodore Primary School. There is one in every of the 14 classrooms at the 352-student P-6 school.
Principal Matt Holdway says the results from the igloos have been fantastic and the reduction in poor classroom behaviours has been very noticeable.
"What we know is when we create a space where kids can learn to self-regulate their emotions they are able to be better learners in the long run," Mr Holdway said.
"We've been researching about how the brain works and what's best for kids and learning. What we know about the brain is that we want to reduce the stress responses in children and make the environment as comfortable as we can for learning and taking risks."
Theodore Primary School is a pilot school in the Schools for All Program, reforms to be run out across all ACT schools which were prompted by the autism cage scandal.
Education Minister Shane Rattenbury provided an update on Thursday on the progress made in the Independent Oversight Group's second-quarter report.
"The Oversight Group has reported that the Schools for All Program is progressing well, with the second-quarter reports showing the completion of nine recommendations, with an additional 41 recommendations under way and on track to be completed on time," Mr Rattenbury said.
At the time of the first update in June, the Education Directorate had only completed two of the 50 recommendations.
Mr Rattenbury said he was pleased to see the program building momentum.
"The status of the work in the first quarter reflected the fact that we were only three months into the program of work," he said.
"However, this is a complex and integrated piece of work that goes far beyond ticking line items off from a report."
He said the ACT needed to see real, lasting cultural change across all Canberra schools.
"For this to happen we need to ensure that every school, across every sector is engaged in the Schools for All program.
"I am encouraged by the engagement so far, and I think we will continue to see our schools become more inclusive and responsive to the needs of each and every student in a way that maximises their outcomes, and supports them through their educational journey."
The second-quarter reports are available on the Education Directorate website.
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