On Monday, October 2, 2017, Dr. Laurie W. Newell, Superintendent of the Essex Regional Educational Services Commission, guests, administrators, teachers and students gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of our new Serenity Room at Essex Junior Academy located at 520 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, New Jersey.


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for The Serenity Room

The tactile wall entices you to touch hard, soft, flat, and rocky surfaces. This is the start of a tactile wall that will be expanded as students create their own tiles of textures. The beanbag chairs, cloud lounger and circular lighted seats look comfortable – just the place to read a book or listen to an audio tape.  Tables display squishy toys, spikey stress light-up balls, moldable sand, water beads, coloring books and fidget items. And then there is the lava lamp – a very soothing visual.

This is truly a multi-sensory experience.  You immediately feel calm, safe and happy. Just the result we want for our students who may have experienced trauma, anxiety, agitation or depression in their young lives. Research based techniques along with Yoga Classes will show students how to practice self-regulation and coping strategies for success in their classroom, home and community. 

To that mission, the Serenity Room is a haven for all, though especially for special needs, alternative or regular education students. 

The Essex Regional Educational Services Commission promotes strong academic programs and supports for all students.

The Serenity Room is just one of many new ERESC initiatives that serves to empower student success.  

Mr. Charles Johnson, Principal of Essex Junior Academy began the introductions and led a formal ribbon cutting grand opening ceremony conducted by Dr. Laurie W. Newell. Everyone was then invited to enter the Essex Junior Academy Serenity Room. This is a snapshot of the Serenity Room experience.

The first sensation is a dark, spongey, soft floor. The lights are low. A swing chair catches your eye with weighted Mr. Froggy sitting comfortably waiting for a hug. A neck support pillow completes a comfortable swing experience. The ceiling sparkles with silver moonbeams and blue ocean waves.   

You sit down in a rocker chair to enjoy the live aquatic scenery and soft gurgling sounds. You feel like you are underwater with the moving sea life. Your sense of smell acutely takes in the scent of lavender permeated by the neon lit diffuser. The scents change each day including mint, cinnamon and ten other pleasant smells of your choice!

A large bubble tube of changing colors leaves you spellbound. You sit on the soft platform to watch the bubbles and realize that what appeared to be one bubble tube is multiplied threefold by using wall mirrors!

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