SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– High Pointe now has a sensory pathway, which encourages movement and helps students “get the sillies out.”
Number hopscotch and jumping jacks sound like summer break shenanigans. But, for some Nixa Elementary School students, these actions help them take brain breaks from class.
Amanda Ward/Instructional Coach, Nixa Schools: “It gives them a chance to get up and move and kind of meets the needs of those kids that have sensory needs,” instructional coach Amanda Ward said.
Ward says it’s not always easy for students to stay focused.
“Sometimes is the textures around them, the way their seat feels, or the way their body feels in the moment.”
Each sticker on the sensory path indicates an action for a child to follow.
“When we see them using it, it feels like it’s an effective place for them to be and if nothing else it’s very exciting,” Ward said.
High point assistant principal, Josh Bennett, says he’s noticed an energy switch that happens along the path.
“If they have that outlet, they go back to class their more focused, they’re more engaged in their learning, we just have happier kids because they have that little bit of exercise to give them a break from their studies,” Bennett said.
Bennett adds the importance of having different outlets for different students.
“What the sensory path does it just allows them to kind of work out those needs but also stimulate their brains in different ways.”
Ward says the school is currently working to secure an outdoor sensory path.
“Having it outside gives every kid a chance to interact with it whereas having it in here not everyone may be able to interact with it on a regular basis.”
The sensory path came to be thanks to High Pointe Elementary School teacher Gretchen Thomas.
Thomas actually wrote the grant to secure the funds for it.