It’s no secret that Vermont winters can make staying active outside difficult but that doesn’t decrease our children’s need to move and play in order to then focus and learn. At St. Albans Town Educational Center (SATEC), this challenge was addressed through creation of “movement pathways” in the school’s hallway spaces with support from a RiseVT Amplify Grant and many caring individuals. Local school-based pediatric physical therapist Heather Blackburn led the project, noting that many others were involved in its creation. That list includes University of Vermont physical therapy students who, she notes, “researched the benefits of movement pathways, contacted schools across the US and Canada on lessons learned in their process, met with maintenance staff at SATEC, contacted companies to get quotes and samples to see what would work with the wax and cleaning process at SATEC” and did “tons of legwork prior to the grant application”. The district’s occupational therapist, Sandra Casavant, was instrumental in creating the design and installing the pathway. Heather also expressed a great deal of gratitude to Main Street Graphics, who quickly stepped in when a problem arose with the installation, volunteering “a ton of time and expertise”, and crediting them with literally saving the day!
Here, Heather outlines the project and what it entailed:
“Thanks to the generous grant from RiseVT, movement pathways have been installed in St Albans Town School hallway and in a Maplerun Early Childhood Program classroom. We anticipate three more pathways installed before the end of the semester. The pathways are universally designed to provide guided sensory-motor movement opportunities that can be accessed individually or with a whole class. Pathways have been used as an indoor recess option, individual movement breaks, and during everyday hallway transitions. The pathway designs were a collaborative effort including MRUSD’s teachers, middle school students, physical and occupational therapists and maintenance staff. Main Street Graphic in St Albans donated many hours for the final pathway installation at SATEC and provide invaluable training to the team. Thank you RiseVT for keeping our kids moving!”