VALLEY CITIES MENTAL HEALTH CENTER’S OUTDOOR THERAPEUTIC CLASSROOM

Kent, WA

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    Orange Fish
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    Sea Turtle
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    Red Coral
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    Coral Reef
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    Coral Reef
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    Coral Reef

The outdoor therapeutic classroom was designed to assist in the therapy of emotionally disturbed and abused children. The design program was coordinated with the staff and therapists to offer the best therapeutic benefits to the children. Many of the children have vestibular processing, with symptoms of clumsiness and poor balance; some have impaired image having difficulty with spatial awareness; while others come from dysfunctional families where playing together or playing cooperatively is unknown. Additionally, some children are unable to tolerate a variety textures or touch and are often referred to as tactile defensive.
Throughout the playground, opportunities for children exist to address their personal challenges. The playground design includes climbing toys of various complexities, encouraging children to push themselves. An atmosphere has been created allowing children to roll down hills to stimulate the inner ear where the vestibular apparatus is located. Environments have been created allowing children to experience closeness and interactions, helping to develop interpersonal skills, and the ability to express needs verbally. The outdoor classroom offers a variety of textures; preparing children to tolerate touch and be less likely to withdraw from others due to prior negative events. The outdoor therapeutic classroom was intended to accommodate children in need and provide them a safe atmosphere to learn and grow and integrate into the normal everyday life.