Storage room inside Sarasota preschool transforms into Zen Den for students

Some pre-schoolers in Sarasota have a new room to not only learn, but have fun in. 

Pre-schoolers at the Early Learning Coalition in Sarasota enjoy reading, but it feels extra special in what they call their Zen Den.

"We've seen the kids come in here, and they love it," said Kristie Skoglund, chief executive officer of The Florida Center for Early Childhood. "The teachers love it, too." 

It's more than just a room, it was created to give pre-schoolers in the Starfish Academy program a place to unwind. 

"You can choose an activity, you can choose to listen to music, whatever you want to do, and just have a place to kind of re-center, kind of just get your body back in check and go on about your day," Skoglund explained. 

It was made possible after they won a grant from the Junior League of Sarasota. They transformed a storage room into this.

The volunteer organization provided beanbag chairs, pillows, rugs, a teepee, CD players, and audiobooks. The preschool had paint, while the non-profit brought in painting supplies for the students.

The work also promotes the Junior League's goal of volunteerism. 

"We can help community organizations and nonprofit organizations, We can make it a better place in the community," said Nicole Shinall of the Junior League of Sarasota. "We took this project, and we made it better for the kids that come here. We made it more functional." 

Essentially, it's hard to believe it used to be a storage room. Now, it's a creative, useful space to relax while learning and make learning that much more fun. The Junior League of Sarasota handed out 20 grants this year and spent about $1,000 on the Zen Den.