Sensory PathAugust 19, 2019
Canaan Community Academy Students Crawl, Hop, Dance & Leap to Health
Canaan Community Academy has designed and opened the school’s first sensory path. Sensory paths have recently become popular in schools across the country to provide students with an opportunity for structured movement breaks during their school day. Canaan Community Academy has installed a sensory path in one of the hallways that encourages students to think, play and release energy while following along a pathway. The pathway is a custom design by artist Patty Lee who volunteered her time over the summer to paint the design on the hallway with the assistance of Jameson Lee. Once designed, staff members painted inside the border lines drawn by Lee. The pathway, a series of colorful objects, numbers, letters, challenges, and positive words, gives students a chance to play, think, and burn off some energy.
During the school day students frequently seek movement through fidgeting, wandering the halls, and talking to peers. Since these behaviors can become disruptive to the learning environment, the sensory path provides students with a proactive way to release their energy. By providing this tool, we are teaching students to self-advocate for their need to take a movement break.
Students are able to use the path throughout the school day as long as they are accompanied by a staff member. Teachers may take their class through the path during transition times. Each class will be trained on how to use the sensory path, which is located in a hallway that students travel multiple times a day, providing many opportunities to use the path. The school’s sensory path consists of physical activities that support academics. There are letters, numbers, and words of encouragement throughout the path and a variety of movement prompts such as jumping, crawling, heel-toe-walking, and vestibular input (coordinates eyes, head, and body movement). Proprioceptive input (sensations from the joints and muscles that support body awareness) is provided and is strategically placed at the end to help students calm themselves before they go to class. Another important skill incorporated into the path is crossing the midline, which is a skill that supports reading and writing. The path ends with words of encouragement and affirmations for students’ self esteem.
It is a nature themed pathway with flowers, sunshine, caterpillars, ladybugs, and butterflies. Oh my! That allows students to use their imaginations as they hop from log to log or stomp on “bugs” as they meander down the path. The Cougars of Canaan Community Academy begin each day on the path to an adventure where they explore, experience and excel. Rhonda Pennington, Chief Administrative Officer said, “All Canaan Community Academy students will benefit emotionally and physically; becoming healthier.” This supports Canaan Community Academy’s practices which support and develop the whole child; where imagination, play, and hands-on activities are encouraged daily, fueling innovative learning. Canaan Community Academy would like to invite the community to attend the unveiling of the sensory path during the ribbon cutting ceremony, August 21st at the school beginning at 4:00 PM.