Indian Prairie Elementary School now has a new resource for students who need a mental and/or physical break from the classroom during the school day. In November a sensory path was installed in a hallway near the school’s main entrance, compliments of the Jarrett Payton Foundation and its new initiative Payton’s Path.
Sensory paths are themed-based, colorful and interactive floor decals that consist of various stations for movement that allow students’ brains to reset through physical activity. Sensory pathways promote self-regulation, provide physical exertion, and improve focus and attention. Sensory paths can be used for a whole class break, sensory break with a staff member, or an individual or buddy student break.
“Some of our students struggle with overstimulation/sensory input and need a reset during the day so they can re-engage in their learning,” said Ali Mitchell, assistant principal. “The new sensory path provides an opportunity for a student to get up, move around and take a meaningful movement break before returning to class.”
The Sensory Path was originally developed by Holly Barker Clay, a former special education teacher in Mississippi who designed the decals for her students after studying the importance of movement and sensory needs of kids. The company, now out of Texas, creates the decals for the sensory paths and installs them on-site upon request. According to its website, The Sensory Path was recently certified as an official Autism Resource and is the first company to receive this designation.
“The sensory path is especially helpful for our students who need a little help with self-regulation, but other students and even staff members have found it beneficial, too,” said Mitchell. “These healthy movement breaks allow students and adults alike to “switch gears” and return to learning and teaching.”