The Tri-County Health Care Foundation recently awarded a $1,500 grant to the Sebeka School District to assist in the addition of more than 80 feet of sensory paths in two hallways of the elementary school.

Sensory paths give students a fun way to learn outside of the classroom, according to a Tri-County Health Care news release. They involve vinyl decals stuck to floors and walls and consist of exercises designed to help students develop motor skills like balance, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. This path has students focus on academic visuals with numbers, letters and colors while moving their body throughout the course. The students move and jump from visuals like daisies with numbered leaves, alphabet polka dots for hopscotch, a loopy ladybug line, jumping frogs, rainbow footprints and floating logs. As the students move through the course, their body movements slow down or speed up, but work toward giving the proper sensory input without overstimulating the student.

In addition to a physical benefit, sensory paths are helpful for students that have processing difficulties, stress, anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The path is designed by using research-based integration therapy techniques to decrease sensory-seeking behaviors and increase cognition.

“Last year, a few special education teachers made our own sensory path using gym floor tape, and the students loved it, but it started to peel off,” said Elizabeth Hillukka, Sebeka special education teacher. “I had intentions of using handmade decals this year, but it was a big task to take on. It will help immensely that the decals are preconstructed.”

The TCHC Foundation Grant helps support organizations in Wadena, Todd and Otter Tail counties that have activities promoting health care and education.

“We know that keeping students active while in school helps with the necessary learning they are doing, and we are excited to see this new sensory path in action,” said Ryan Damlo, Foundation executive director.