The first nine weeks of school are ending on a high note thanks to the work of occupational therapists Dianne Shearon and Henrietta Sutton. Mariam Boyd Elementary students now have access and full use of a “Sensory Walk” which was created to increase cognitive functioning and develop motor skills like balance, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness.
The sensory pathway was created using a sticky vinyl and a Cricut* cutting machine. After the pathways components were created and cut, a hard working group placed the materials onto the floor, which was sealed for protection and longevity. The pathway, which was added in a heavily trafficked hallway of Mariam Boyd Elementary school, will allow students a functional and fun way to move their bodies while traveling from place to place. The pathway houses sensory activities which encourage students to use their senses to touch, feel, and engage in sensory play.
Included in the new sensory pathway are several activities specifically designed to develop the motor skills (Fun and Playscapes Inc., 2019). Ms. Dianne Shearon noted that the hopscotch, heel/toe line and yoga poses help with balance. Spatial awareness is addressed with the bug stomp and the line walk. Visual Perceptual skills are addressed with the eye-spy and shapes sizes on the wall as well as recognizing colors. The varied movements related to these activities, which require kids to hop, step, and jump, can also be a great “brain break” throughout the school day.
According to Pepper Franchina-Gallagher (BS/MS OTR/L), “Sensory Pathways assist those that need to increase their energy and arousal level as well as those who need to calm and organize their bodies, not to mention the added benefits of focus, academics and physical coordination while encouraging socialization and problem-solving skills!" Both Ms. Shearon and Ms. Sutton advised teachers that “incorporating movement activities into your daily routine will help children sit still and focus for longer periods of time in the classroom.” The Sensory Pathway will surely prove to be an excellent resource for all Mariam Boyd students, and we are so excited to see the benefits our students reap!
Ms. Sutton and Ms. Shearon would like to thank all of the wonderful volunteers who worked to make this project possible: Mrs. Brewer (our wonderful Principal), Mr. Mizell (Maintenance Supervisor extraordinaire) and Mrs. Powell (awesome Head Custodian).