FAIR LAWN, NJ - Students in Edison School’s pre-kindergarten/kindergarten wing are hop-skip and jumping their way through the hallway this year.
They are following a colorful sequence of decals affixed to the floor that create a fun and interactive pathway called a Sensory Path. The Sensory Path is a research-based “brain break” that encourages students’ readiness for attention and learning – whether they need to calm down or energize.
The path takes users through a series of steps by walking, jumping, skipping or hopping and takes less than a minute. FLASE (Fair Lawn Association of Special Education) donated two this year, one each to Edison and Westmoreland after Westmoreland Principal Christy Dell’Aglio found the idea online, then physical education teacher Christian Samra followed it up with research.
This summer, administrators mapped out the configuration and installed the stickers; custodians waxed over them so students could use the configuration year after year. At first, it was the teachers getting all the exercise as they modeled how to follow along the pathway. Now, however, the students get to use it three times a week or more.
“They use it to get their jiggles and wiggles out and then go back to the classroom and focus,” said Donna Doherty, special education teacher at Edison. “Overall, it’s been a very positive experience and the students love it.”
Feedback from occupational and physical therapists has been positive, and they, too, have been using the Sensory Path to work on students’ fine and gross motor skills. “The Sensory Path really maximizes all of our therapeutic time because students can practice those skills they need to improve, even if it’s just walking from the students’ classrooms to our OT/PT rooms,” said Camille DeFranco, Assistant Supervisor for Student Services.