Students at Minnehaha Elementary School will have a new way to get their wiggles out while walking the halls.
This summer, a group of staff worked together to place new vinyl decals along the hallway in front of the main office to create a sensory pathway. It's a new project spearheaded by physical education teacher Kim Pierson.
"It’s meant for kids to move about and be active, with the ultimate goal of it giving them a brain break from the classroom," Pierson said. "It’s a chance for kids to organize their bodies and their brains. For some kids, it’s going to help them focus on their school work, for others it will help them calm their body more for learning."
The colorful pathways use hopscotch patterns, hand and foot prints, winding paths and letters to guide the students through the hallway. The three paths have different themes: a nature theme with logs and trees, a water theme with waves and rivers, and a dinosaur dig theme with sand and shovels.
Pierson found the pathways online when researching new ways to get kids moving throughout the day.
"As a phys ed teacher, it's my job to keep the kids active and find ways to help them that also benefit the learning process," Pierson said. "I read blogs and saw these new pathways online. I investigated it and discovered it was something we could easily incorporate in our school."
After discussing the idea with her fellow teachers, Pierson selected some new pathways and organized a fundraiser to purchase the vinyl decals. Last spring, the students took pledges for the number of times they could loop the school or collected flat donations to raise the funds needed for the project.
During the summer, Pierson and some fellow teachers spent a few weeks working together to cut out the decals and place them around the hallway. After placing each decal and smoothing out bubbles, a layer of wax was placed on top of the hallway to lock the designs in place.
"The product is meant to stay on the floor for a long period of time. You can lay it down and it will last a year with regular school foot traffic," Pierson said. "We chose to put it in a hallway where we're able to put a floor finish over it so it will last for years."
Pierson said she's looking forward to seeing the kids' reactions to the new hallway when they return to school Tuesday, Sept. 3.
"I’m super-excited about it. It will be a fun way to start the year," Pierson said. "There will be some learning curves to it for our teachers and staff. The kids will have to learn how to use the hallway the proper way and at proper times. There might be issues at first, but once they learn the appropriate behaviors, it'll be great fun."