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WVU-P students install sensory paths at Parkersburg elementary schools

Members of WVU Parkersburg’s Kappa Delta Pi educational honor society painted this sensory path at Criss Elementary School to provide sensory development and encourage students to count by ones. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — WVU Parkersburg’s Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education, has partnered with Criss and Franklin Elementary schools in Wood County to provide sensory paths for youth.

Sensory paths are a series of guided movements for children to follow to help develop motor skills.

“These sensory paths can increase the number of minutes that students are physically active during the school day,” said Stephanie Stopiak, WVU Parkersburg education instructor. “Sensory paths can also help students develop coordination skills and increase focus and attention. Teachers can use sensory paths for transitions, recess, brain breaks or a calming area.”

At Franklin Elementary Center, KDP members installed two sets of agility tires for children to count by fives as they hop through the obstacle, and painted a Bigfoot walking path. At Criss, they painted a hula hoop hop path, ABC alphabet tree, moon boots hop path and a snake path that encourages counting by ones.

Franklin Elementary Center Principal Lee Ann Cumpston said the paths are located in the breezeway where kids travel from the main part of the building out to the classrooms.

WVU Parkersburg student Jessica Morrison works on a sensory path at Criss Elementary School. (Photo Provided)

“I think the kids are going to find them fun,” she said. “We notice them as they are going down the hallways sometimes, jumping from thing to thing.

“The sensory paths allow the kids movement to reset their brains so they are ready to learn and focus when they are in a classroom,” Cumpston said. “The movement is just good for them.”

Sometimes, if a teacher knows a student needs to get up and move, they can send them to do one of the paths, she said.

Cumpston said she appreciates the college involving the school in this grant.

“We enjoy our partnership with WVUP, their students and the things they provide for our kids,” Cumpston said.

For KDP President Leah Harvey, the service project is an example of applying what she learns in the classroom to real life.

“As education majors, we are very fortunate to learn from and work side by side with some of the best teachers in Wood County,” she said. “We were able to meet our possible future colleagues and students.

“We were also able to gain the experience of painting these sensory paths, which will be a visually stimulating way for students to practice motor skills and can tie to different content skills practice,” Harvey said. “Every student can use and enjoy the sensory paths, and we cannot wait to see them in action.”

The project was funded by the SNAP-Ed grant, which aims to educate families on healthy choices and promotes active lifestyles.

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