Using smell in the classroom

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Smell can sometimes be an underused sensory resource wither ignored or simply viewed in terms of making a classroom smell ‘nice’. What a waste! Smell is a fantastic clue for children to use to help them orientate themselves in the school, to mark changing days or as part of a sensory timetable. I’m sure most of us have expereinced the flood of emotion and memory that can be triggered by certain smells and this resource is one that every classroom should be using. Some of the ways I have used smell in the classroom are:

  1. Different scents for different days- a diffuser or large oil burner is great for this. Scents linger so using them for smaller blocks of time is more difficult
  2. Orientating in space- different rooms may naturally have their own scent but if they don’t try adding them
  3. As part of a sensory timetable- for example a chloring scented towel to indicate it’s time for swimming or a smear of minty toothpaste used consistenty to indcate it’s time for speech therapy and if possible linked to the room or person they child is visiting.
  4. To indicate individuals- try to avoid changing your perfume or deoderant, scent can be a powerful marker of individuals, even more so if children have multi-sensory impairments. If you could collect a squirt of the relevat scent to link to photos showing staff even better!

How do you use scent in your classroom?
photo credit: Dennis Wong via photopin cc

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