School installs sensory hallway

Colebrook Consolidated School Principal Elizabeth Driscoll and school psychologist Jenna Bortugno
Colebrook Consolidated School Principal Elizabeth Driscoll and school psychologist Jenna Bortugno walking down the school's new sensory hallway.

While it might look primarily decorative, both Colebrook Consolidated School Principal Elizabeth Driscoll and school psychologist Jenna Bortugno said there’s much more to the school’s sensory hallway than meets the eye.
In early October, the school installed the vinyl adhesives for the hallway in the school hallway leading from the Kindergarten classroom to the cafeteria.
The stickers direct children to do physical activities, starting with a flower with numbered petals which is designed to get children to do high knee exercises, which leads to a ladybug hallway where children are supposed to walk on the path as if it was a balance beam.


From there, children are asked to jump from frog lily pad to lily pad, then march along a hallway of “feet” to a wall where they can do stand up pushups, then jump from “log” to “log” over to alphabet circles where they can hopscotch over each letter.
“The reason why the alphabet is upside down is that it is in front of the Kindergarten room and, when the students leave, we want to make sure they are reading the alphabet the right way,” Bortungo said. “The whole hallway is 80 feet, but the design was originally made for 40 feet. Because our hallway is a little more narrow, we stretched it out a little bit.”

According to both Driscoll and Bortungo, the adhesives were purchased by the school from www.sensorypath.com.
“Children throughout the day look for some kind of sensory input,” Driscoll said. “This is an opportunity for them to move their bodies. If someone is having trouble focusing and attending to their tasks in the classroom, this will allow them to move their bodies. It gives them a chance to move their bodies and their muscles, and get some sensory input.”
“These types of sensory paths were originally designed for students with autism, but then it morphed into something for all elementary students,” Bortugno said. “It gives a chance for all students to take a break. We have students who fidget throughout the day and they need to move around. They tap their foot, or they wiggle in their seats. This is an opportunity to get out their wiggles and be more available for learning in the classroom.”
When asked, both Driscoll and Bortugno highly recommended other schools around the area installing a sensory hallway.
“It’s good for all children,” Driscoll said. “And adults. We’ve seen adults going on this hallway. It’s a nice opportunity to move your body. It’s a great tool for a lot of different aspects of the school day.”

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