Galileo becomes the first adult centre in Quebec to offer a multisensory room
On Wednesday, January 22, Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North revealed its new state-of-the-art multisensory room.
After much hard work and dedication, Galileo Adult Education Centre’s new multisensory room, sponsored by Vanessa Grimaldi, founder of No Better You Foundation and former special needs teacher at Galileo before she went on to international fame on the ABC reality show The Bachelor, Italiani di Montreal e Amici, and Chez Ma Tante Restaurant, was revealed. “I am proud to say that Galileo is the first adult centre within the EMSB to have a multisensory room,” said Martina Schiavone, principal of Galileo, while addressing sponsors, English Montreal School Board administrators, special guests and the Galileo community.
While initially created for the school’s 150 Social Integration Services (SIS) and Socio-vocational Integration Services (SVIS) students, some 100 academic and 400 common core basic education students will also benefit from the room. Situated in a large classroom on the school’s second floor, it can accommodate six to eight adults at one time.
A sensory room (technically called a Snoezelen room and termed by Galileo as “the Snuggle Room”) provides a multisensory environment that offers an array of interesting and controllable sensory experiences. “Imagine a room that will strip away your anxiety with a relaxed atmosphere, soothing sounds, captivating aromas, tactile experiences, massage, light effects, comfortable seating allowing us to explore, interact and reenergize our body. A place that helps diminish stress, refocus, reconnect our thoughts, and promotes happiness in our mind, body and soul. We have built this room at Galileo for all of our students, teachers and staff,” said Ms. Schiavone.
Galileo’s multisensory room has 10 stations which include two interactive bubble tubes, fibre optics with 200 strands, aromatherapy, a mirror ball, liquid sensory floor tiles, bean bag chairs, vibrating pillows, an interactive infinity panel with a mirror, a leaf chair, an LED light cube, multisensory video murals, and a tactile wall and balls with different textures, all furnished and designed by Avron with the guidance of Galileo staff.
After a warm welcome to the school, guests enjoyed a concert by Galileo’s Brazilian percussion group “Brazileo” that had guests clapping to their explosive beats. Ms. Schiavone then graciously thanked the three sponsors. In addressing Ms. Grimaldi, she said: “Your teaching experience has made you aware of the challenges our school faces daily. Be proud to know that your $12,500 donation from No Better You has allowed us to create this room that will increase communication and positive interaction. Thank you.”
Italiani di Montreal e Amici donated $8,000. With some of their board members having children with autism, they have an inherent understanding of the importance of a multisensory room. Chez Ma Tante Restaurant donated $4,000. Giving back to the community is part of their philosophy and history.
Ann Marie Matheson, director general of the EMSB, thanked the sponsors on behalf of the EMSB, and Galileo’s teachers and staff for their vision and mission, belief in their students and knowing their need. “I thank Martina Schiavone for being a wonderful leader in this community and for all that she and her staff have contributed. It is my and my team’s pleasure to be here today. We are very proud of Galileo’s new room. All the best to the students on your Snoezelen room,” shared Ms. Matheson.
SIS students and teachers shared testimonials of their multisensory room experiences. Alexis Gerin-Lajoie has been a student at Galileo for three years and is overjoyed that the new room. “It is a place to help me relax and leave all my troubles behind. The room gives me my personal space where I can be alone with my thoughts. The sensory room means the world to us. We thank you for your support,” said Mr. Gerin-Lajoie.
After a ribbon cutting ceremony, guests toured the calming room, learning how the equipment is used and seeing demonstrations of its effectiveness. The culinary class prepared a delicious lunch which event attendees enjoyed afterwards.
Ms. Grimaldi was touched and voiced how emotional this day was for her. Galileo is where her vision for the No Better You Foundation began. “It does not take going on a tv show where they hand out roses to do good. It’s smiling at your neighbour and hanging out with a student who may not have any other students to hang out with. So be kind to one another,” she said.
Galileo offers a unique blend of taught and/or individualized classes to all its students. Students are able to learn in an environment which promotes growth and acceptance, paving the way to their future. With an energetic and motivated staff to create one of a kind educational experience, Galileo’s curriculum stimulates and inspires the students to achieve their goals. It is also a place where futures are built and where second chances are possible.