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Elementary Students Walk the Path to Healthy Minds
Movement pathways have debuted in each elementary school in the district to give students new ways to strengthen their minds and bodies.
Dr. Jordan McCaw, the executive director of pupil personnel services, said that the creation of the pathways was recommended by the Sensory Intervention Committee, which met in the spring. It consisted of representatives from the six elementary schools including parents, teachers, psychologists, principals, assistant principals, special education supervisors, board certified behavioral analysts and occupational therapists. During the summer, the pathways were created with vinyl stickers placed on the floors and walls.
The designs are unique to each school but there are many common elements including figure-8 foot paths, zig-zag paths, a curved caterpillar featuring the letters of the alphabet, numbers on gears and stomp the bugs. Other stations offer opportunities for exercise include burpees, high jumps, jumping jacks, lobster crawls and stretches.
Unqua Elementary School Principal Deanna Catapano said that there are two movement pathways in her building, one near the primary grade classrooms and one near the upper grade rooms. She noted that one popular spot is the mirror station, featuring a set of footprints and five colorful dots on each side of a line. Students partner up and whatever move one child makes, his or her friend repeats it on the other side.
Ms. Catapano explained that a few minutes at the pathway can make a positive difference for students with their schoolwork. A movement break can improve focus and attentiveness in class, she explained.
“There is ample research to support that movement activities have positive effects on the brain,” Dr. McCaw added. “Pathways are an excellent start in providing students with a means to engage in structured physical activity.”