MES receives donation for student sensory paths

Published 1:43 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

By CINDY WARNER / Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – With a gift from state Rep. Matt Fridy, Montevallo Elementary School will be designing and implementing both an indoor and outdoor sensory path in the coming months.

These paths will offer students a way to use their bodies and environment by allowing for brain breaks.

The paths give the students an opportunity to utilize their muscles, breathing, spatial awareness in order to “reset” their brains.

Fridy visited Montevallo Elementary School on Tuesday to deliver a $10,000 check to be used toward the construction of the sensory paths, which are being modeled after similar paths that were designed and implemented by special education teacher Holly Clay at Bramlett Elementary School in Oxford, Mississippi.

“It has become so important for schools to create opportunities for activities that build relationships, self-awareness, empowerment and the ability to work well with others,” said Dr. Allison Campbell, principal at MES. “Some of these activities can include time for brain breaks and opportunities for collaboration. In support of the district initiative to support the social-emotional learning of students, MES has embraced this idea.”

Campbell said she and Mary Sharman, one of the special education teachers, had been having conversations around the idea of a sensory path and how much it would benefit the students, especially students who might be feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious, or overstimulated in the regular classroom and need a break to be able to calm their emotions and refocus.

“So, when Dr. Lewis Brooks presented an opportunity with Representative Fridy, we knew exactly what we wanted to propose,” she said. “We are so very thankful for Representative Fridy’s generous gift and what it will mean to our students. Sometimes our students, all students with varying abilities and needs, just need an opportunity to reset and take a break. These paths will provide an intentional, purposeful avenue for that both inside and outside the building.”

Campbell said that while they did get the idea from the school in Mississippi, they will plan their sensory paths to fit the needs of MES.

“We plan to hopefully visit the school and observe the paths in use,” Campbell said, “But we want to make our paths unique to MES so it will meet the specific needs of our students. It is going to be an amazing support for our students. We are so very appreciative and excited.”