Otselic Valley added two movement pathways to our school this school year: one in the Pre-K - 2nd grade hallway, and another in the hallway outside the art room. At first glance these pathways look like simple decals on the floor, but a closer look and a conversation with Ms. Lorrie Paul, Otselic Valley’s occupational therapy assistant, reveals much more.
A movement path provides cues for action in a colorful, creative, and playful way, Ms. Paul tells us. When using the path, students move their bodies while developing motor skills like balance, coordination, spatial awareness, midline crossing, and problem solving.
Movement pathways can be equally effective for kids who need to increase their energy, and those who need to calm and organize their bodies: they serve as brain breaks throughout the day.
Movement pathways get the blood pumping, and their use helps children sit still and focus for longer periods of time in the classroom. Some students gain the ability to better regulate their bodies through purposeful movement.
Ms. Lorrie Paul designed and installed a movement path for quick breaks in the Pre-K --2nd grade hallway, with help from Mrs. Davis. “This path has been beneficial for our youngest students who feel frustrated or overwhelmed in class and would benefit from a break,” she said. “Having it located just outside the classrooms allows for a quick transition back to important academic work, too. Other students use the pathway as a means to develop motor skills. This pathway was installed in November and has seen daily use since then.”
Ms. Blake also asked for a pathway to be installed in her hallway. This one is a mindfulness walk in the shape of an infinity loop, with stations where activities can be completed. This path is available for all students and staff who feel the need for a break.
“In occupational therapy we work to help all students learn to self-regulate so as to be available for learning,” Ms. Paul explained. “The pathways promote proprioceptive input, bilateral skills, and crossing midline activities to facilitate brain development. The paths are made of removable vinyl with shapes die cut from a circuit machine. Many thanks to Mrs. Davis and Ms. Blake for helping to design, Mr. Winn for supporting the decision to install, and custodial staff for the care they take with our beautiful building and these pathways.”