West Hancock Elementary School adds sensory pathways to classrooms

The students at West Hancock Elementary School are moving through their classrooms with increased focus thanks to the new sensory pathways installed on campus.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 8:34 PM CST
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - The students at West Hancock Elementary School are moving through their classrooms with increased focus thanks to the new sensory pathways installed on campus.

“Our students here sometimes struggle with self-regulation and the Wonder Walk was specifically designed for their needs,” says Amie Sins, West Hancock County Elementary School Principal. “It allows them the opportunity to take a break and use their brain as well as physical motor skills to gain that regulation and that way they can participate back in the class.”

Recently, Catalyst EDU put the paths together to enhance the students’ fundamental skill sets. The team of experts specialize in behavioral therapy.

“Our learners all have different needs and sensory needs, and so the wonder walks are a way to include all the parts of the brain,” explained Behavior Specialist, Maggie Shorter. “We have the sensory movements going [and] the visual pieces until they’re able to self-regulate by movement.”

The new learning concept also works to decrease anxiety. Teachers have reported seeing extensive growth in student participation.

“When they become anxious or dysregulated as we like to call it, the sensory paths [and] the wonder walks are a way for them to self-regulate again and bring their bodies back down, and then use their coping skills to move forward,” Shorter adds.

This installment was the first phase of the program. The next phase will add pathways on the walls of the classrooms in the coming weeks.

“That will help them visually at eye level than be able to use their brain, their hands, and they can bounce on the wall using their hands, hi-five and just get more of that sensory overload into the hands rather than the feet that they might need,” explained Sins.

West Hancock is the first school in the area that Catalyst EDU has installed the sensory walkways. The company plans to put them in other schools in the near future.

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