New sensory paths donated by Champaign West Rotary encourage students and teachers at recipient schools to seek calming movement
Several Unit 4 Schools recently received customized sensory paths, courtesy of a generous donation from the Champaign West Rotary.
Rotary then-president Susan Jepsen originally approached the occupational therapy department to determine current needs within the district. Movement opportunities for all learners and sensory needs were identified as priorities by the staff. As part of the process, Rotary members were educated on sensory needs in the schools and how they can affect focus, concentration, and participation. Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, Champaign Early Childhood Center, Garden Hills Academy: Math and Engineering Leadership, International Prep Academy, and Stratton Academy of the Arts were all selected to receive these movement stations for their students. District therapists, administrators, and custodial staff have played an integral role in tailoring each path to its location.
The vibrant sensory paths are welcome additions, encouraging students and teachers to seek calming input through jumps, hops, slithers, and wall push-ups. They also help students to take in and appreciate nature around them through reflection. The individual paths were customized to school colors, themes, and mascots, if appropriate.
Each path is available for use for all students in a school building. Getting children (and teachers!) moving throughout the day helps focus attention and improve concentration. The paths are meant to be used in a structured and teacher-directed manner and allow for children to seek movement opportunities while at school.
The paths were originally donated in August 2020 but the installation was delayed due to COVID mitigations and restrictions. Members of Unit 4’s occupational therapy department recently installed paths at Booker T. Washington, Garden Hills, and Stratton. The paths at Champaign Early Childhood Center and International Prep Academy will be installed later.
Are you looking for more resources for children with sensory and/or other needs? Check out our resources for specialized services, supports, and therapies here.