By Traci Gunston
Since school began on Aug. 10, students at Greenland Pines Elementary have been spotted moving about the hallways using frog jumps, bear crawls, crouching, hopping, and pushing on walls and floors. The students are utilizing newly installed sensory paths, sponsored by the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). A sensory path is a series of activities, generally painted or made of decals posted on walls and floors in school hallways. Sensory paths create much needed opportunities for students to take a break from their day and burn excess energy, relieve stress, or find calm when overstimulated.
“For several years the PTA at Greenland Pines has hosted a fun run to raise money for school projects,” said PTA President Valerie Wurdeman. “Sensory paths had been brought up in the past and we felt this was a great year to go for it. Instead of another fun run, the PTA used Boosterthon’s Virtual Dance Party as a fundraiser and our students raised money based on minutes danced. In the end, we raised over $14,000.”
At Greenland Pines, four sensory paths and an ABC Hop have been installed around campus. Students can utilize the sensory paths independently as a break or on their way to class. During the day, teacher-led groups of students can be found using the paths when headed to lunch, the playground, and returning from a resource. On rainy days, the paths offer students a brief break from the classroom to stretch, move, and play. The campus boasts a variety of themes including “Blast Off,” “ABC Hop,” a “Ninja” and “Going on A Bear Hunt.” As a student moves through a path, they forget about classroom stress and enjoy completing the tasks and activities. Students even love seeing their teachers give the path a try, and occasionally, they do!
Traci Gunston is a pre-kindergarten teacher at Greenland Pines Elementary School.
Photos courtesy Traci Gunston