For many kids, sitting quiet and still through an entire school day can seem like an impossible task. Sure, there's recess and gym, but for some kids, that's simply not enough. This school's new sensory hallway is the perfect solution for fidgety kids. It helps address the fidgeting in a positive way — and helps them feel calmer, more at ease, and can help with focus as well.
Part of teaching kids is realizing that not every kid learns the same way or needs the same thing. Some students may be able to sit at their desks for a few hours at a time. Others, however, need the opportunity to get up, stretch, and even run.
In rural Manitoba, staff at Roland School are working to create an environment that takes into account the different things kids need to learn. The average school hallway can be a little boring and bland, but Roland School has spruced things up.
Now, students have an entire hallway with instructions to do things like hop, squat, push ups, and even crawl, as reported by the CBC.
The school's Sensory Path is reportedly the first in Manitoba, as reported by the CBC, and was inspired by an earlier project in Alberta called "Don't Walk in the Hallway."
As a program, "Don't Walk In the Hallway" had spread to about 100 schools by 2016, according to Active For Life. The site noted that schools place colorful stickers on the floor in hallways that tell kids to skip, jump, hop, and more.
Chris Fenlon-MacDonald, the program's creator, said, according to Active For Life:
Don’t Walk in the Hallway takes a passive environment and turns it into an active one ... What we’re finding is that it’s changing the culture of schools. That is probably the most profound thing. Now we’re seeing that movement is normalized behavior. Students are developing the confidence to move, and they’re motivated to move.
It's that same motivation of promoting movement that made Roland School implement its own sensory hallway. The school's principle, Brandy Chevalier, reportedly told the CBC, "We are very focused on making sure our kids are learning both numeracy and literacy, but also being mindful of their whole bodies and wellness, and wellness as a whole being."
Sensory hallways can play a role in a kid's overall sensory diet, which is a specifically and intentionally developed group of "activities and accommodations" that ensure that kids get the right sorts of sensory input that they individually need. According to Understood, a nonprofit collective focusing on learning and attention issues, these activities can be really great for kids with sensory processing issues and ADHD, but everybody may be able to benefit from them.
Schools in the United States have also experimented with sensory paths and rooms of their own. At Rockcreek Elementary School in Indiana, a wall for kindergarteners to second-graders allows them to move pegs around, type on a keyboard, or get creative with a magnet board, The Republic reported.
Introducing sensory hallways can really help transform school for kids. Where they might have once gotten into trouble for their fidgeting, there's now an appropriate way to get all that energy out so they can focus without disruption.
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