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Grand Rapids, MI: School adds $1,500 "sensory pathway" to help kids 'refocus'

Oct 18, 2021, School News Network, Grand Rapids, MI: Walk this way https://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/2021/10/18/walk-this-way/

With all the bright colors and fun designs, sometimes it’s just too hard to resist hopping and twirling along West Godwin’s new sensory pathway. Such was the case of one student who was hopping and twirling along the pathway before she spotted Assistant Principal Casey Kroll walking by. Kroll chuckled. “It certainly helps to get the wiggles out,” she said as the student continued on with a smile. The sensory pathway is a new addition to the West Godwin hallways this fall, thanks to Early Childhood Special Education Paraprofessional Carrie DeMull, who had seen the idea on Facebook. “I was just scrolling through when I came upon a video by Chantel’s Paths, who makes them,” DeMull said. “I thought, what a great way for students to not only get those wiggles out, but if they are upset, it would be a way to get their mind off of the problem and be able to refocus.” Sensory paths are used to help develop fine and gross motor skills like balance, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. They also can provide a break from classroom activities or a place where students can get out some extra energy.… “Every day after lunch, I always give my students the go-ahead, giving them the opportunity to get their wiggles out and move their bodies after eating, before getting back into the classroom,” Atkinson said. The pathway also offers an opportunity to celebrate victories big and small, such as when a student is able to accomplish something they have not been able to do, said kindergarten teacher Holly Vostad. She recently celebrated with her student, Brantley Cox-Homrich, when he was able to hop without holding the wall. “My favorite parts are jumping and spinning,” Brantley said of the sensory path. Vostad added that he also likes practicing his letters while moving around the space. We’ll Fund That To pay for this resource, which costs about $1,500 for decals and instructions, DeMull and West Godwin’s occupational therapist, Katie Burke, applied for a grant from the Wyoming Community Foundation….