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Waverly Students Make Most of Sensory Paths

Sensory paths at Waverly School on the floor.K-1 students at the Waverly School seem to have an extra skip in their step these days, perhaps due to new installations around the building designed to help students maintain focus while improving their motor skills. 


Colorful stickers placed on hallway floors around the building mark sensory paths, inviting children to travel along specific routes. The paths improve attention and concentration skills, pattern recognition, working memory skills and bilateral integration. 


“They have been a hit with students this year,” explained Interim Principal Dr. Harry Laub. The various themed pathways—which include counting by five, the solar system, and colors—are utilized daily by students in a way that engages both their minds and bodies.


“They’re a great thing for kids, you’re basically seeing the students hopping from spot to spot,” said Laub. “They always have to be aware of where the next one is, and they love to do it.”


The idea of installing sensory paths was first broached with school administration by the Waverly PTA last spring, explained PTA Board Member Dr. Sara-Jeanine Maffettone, who is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Dr. Maffettone said that over the last few years, several early-elementary schools have begun to utilize sensory paths in order to supplement the work being done in K-1 classrooms. 


“We had seen how beneficial they were in other schools so went from there. We researched companies andfound one that was the best in terms of bright colors and durability,” she said. “As far as the custom pieces, that was something we wanted to tailor to Waverly so that’s why we used [school mascot] Echo.”



“The benefits are endless, it targets so many different needs for students, and it can also work as a preventative measure,” she said. “If a student is having difficulty focusing in the classroom, if they have a movement break, they are more likely to sit and focus for longer periods of time.”


Dr. Laub added that incorporating movement into the school day can pay enormous dividends for K-1 students. 


“It very much depends on what your vision of a school should be; kids always standing in two straight lines, working quietly isn’t always a good idea,” he said. “But as kids are moving through the building, they’re getting excited and these are enjoyable, positive things for everyone.”


Noting how quickly students and teachers have adapted to the use of these paths, Dr. Maffettone hopes that the educational hallway hot-spots will be a staple in Waverly for years to come.


“It’s rewarding to see this not only to help the community, but to help the culture of the school,” she said. “It should be something that teachers can use as an easy and effective tool, so I hope we are using these sensory paths for as long as we can.”