Mars Area Elementary School students have been hopping, skipping and jumping to class since the start of the school year, as the school has installed a new Sensory Path in its fourth grade hallway.
Instead of just walking down a typical hallway, students can take a Sensory Path, which asks them to complete a variety of activities, such as wall push-ups, a crab walk, leapfrog, planet bounce, an ant march, yoga poses, and more. The pathway also includes positive messages throughout.
“I’ll be teaching and I will look out my door and I will see kids hopping over frogs, crab walking on the floor, doing push-ups on the wall. There are yoga poses. It is great for everybody,” says Stephanie Graff, who along with her fellow fourth grade teachers, Chris Petrini and Jamie Waters, worked to install the Sensory Path before the start of school.
The initial idea for the project came from Waters, who learned about a similar Sensory Path at a school in another state and began to investigate how the project could benefit students at Mars Area Elementary School.
“We are always trying to incorporate best practices ideas for our students whether it be academics or physical or mental (activities). I looked at the activity and how it builds connection in your brain, and those connections kind of trigger your senses and… one thing leads to another — increased academics, increased focus,” says Waters.
“We know, as adults, that sitting in a seat, you can feel sluggish at times. So, if (students) can get up and have some movement, whether it be for 5 or 10 minutes, (they) are going to come back to the classroom, feeling up beat and ready to learn some more.”
Students may use the Sensory Path on the way to the Nurse’s Office, or coming back from the restroom or lunch, or even sometimes when they just need a break from learning.
“They need brain breaks just like other people and this does provide for that,” says Petrini.
Moving forward the teachers are considering option for expanding the Sensory Path into other area of the school to benefit more students as well as making it a more it a permanent installation.
For more information, call (724) 625-3161.