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John Dolan School
Inspiring Learning
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Mary Vinish Snoezelen Park provides a sensory environment

March 09, 2016
The Mary Vinish Snoezelen Park at John Dolan School is a multi-sensory environment creating a magical world of sensory delights to foster relaxation, cooperation and participation through sensory-based stations based on Snoezelen concepts and philosophy.
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Inside a Snoezelen room you can expect to experience a soft, safe, and stimulating environment with comfortable seating, interactive wall panels, large-muscle play activities, special lighting, shimmering reflections and soothing music.

The word “Snoezelen” is a combination of two Dutch words meaning “to sniff” and “to doze,” capturing the concepts of sensation and relaxation.  The goal of Snoezelen is total relaxation and enjoyment, allowing children the opportunity to explore sensory stimulating activities at their own pace and initiative.

Research has shown that children using Snoezelen rooms exhibit: increased focus and engagement; increased motivation and responsiveness; increased coordination; enhanced interactive play skills.  As a result of a child experiencing a Snoezelen room, one generally finds an increase in smiles, happiness and an enhancement of social relationships in general.

The park, which opened at John Dolan in May 2003, is named after Mary Vinish, teacher and principal at the school for 25 until her retirement in 1988.  In her honour, funds were collected for a park on school property bearing her name.  For a number of reasons, the project was delayed and its focus changed in 2002 to an indoor park based on Snoezelen concepts and philosophy.