Walk down the kindergarten hallway at Sloatsburg Elementary School, and you’ll find shapes, activities and obstacles along the walls and floor. This is a new sensory hallway, created by occupational therapist, Debbie Halsch, that provides students and teachers tools to enhance learning experiences, by offering brain breaks and body movement.
From jumping jacks to hopscotch, each activity was designed to help develop body awareness, gross motor coordination, motor planning and coordination of both sides of the body. They tap into the children’s proprioceptive sense, which tends to help facilitate an increased feeling of calm and focus in both the body and brain. The children also have an opportunity to develop their self-regulation skills, by noticing the way they feel before and after engaging in the activities.
“We want students to have a positive school experience,” notes Halsch. “Kids’ brains are not equipped to sit still for extended periods of time. By offering movement breaks, we can help keep their bodies and brains alert, allowing them to be more attentive and retain what they’ve learned.”
Thank you also to speech therapist Jill Nanus, kindergarten teacher Deanne Martin and head custodian Matt Broersma for helping create the space.