Building a fun learning environment is a passion for Jeanne Laney, art teacher at Matthews Charter Academy (MCA), who took a creative approach to improving student behavior that would positively impact the entire school. With the help of two students, she created two colorful sensory paths at either end of the school.
Laney researched the use of sensory paths as a preventive measure, which help improve focus and prevent disruptive behaviors from occurring within the learning environment. After gaining approval from her principal, she threw herself into the project.
“I consulted with a paint specialist to choose the correct concrete paint and added silica for traction,” said Laney. “I pressure washed the sidewalks myself and drew out the paths.”
Laney’s sensory paths are complete with hopping, jumping, and balancing sections, which are interpreted by each scholar in their own way.
“Not only do these paths get the scholars moving and blood and oxygen flowing, but it helps develop motor skills. Sometimes a little fresh air can help improve moods, too,” said Laney.
Teachers use the paths as brain breaks for their students and some students use them on their way to and from recess. Laney loves seeing younger siblings use them when they walk by, as well.
“Sensory paths are for any student, but it is especially useful for students who need brain breaks, to let out some energy so they can return to the classroom ready to learn,” said Colette McLain, special education teacher at MCA. “The best part is they can have fun doing it. Ms. Laney has done a beautiful job creating this for the kids!”
Laney isn’t done yet, though. She is already thinking about her next big project.
“My future ideas include adding painted games to our playground area and designing an outdoor classroom. I am also planning to have a yoga instructor make short videos specifically for us to use in the classroom,” said Laney.
Laney is an inspiring educator who takes on projects for the betterment of the school community. Keep up the creative work, Jeanne!