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Sun, Aug. 25

Hop, jump, press, squeeze: Students traverse new sensory hallway at Lake Valley Elementary

Lake Valley Elementary School teachers and staff met July 25 to set up equipment in the new sensory hallway inside the entrance to the school. An $18,315 donation from Jewish Community Foundation helped pay for tiling the floor and the equipment. (Sue Tone/Tribune)

Lake Valley Elementary School teachers and staff met July 25 to set up equipment in the new sensory hallway inside the entrance to the school. An $18,315 donation from Jewish Community Foundation helped pay for tiling the floor and the equipment. (Sue Tone/Tribune)

Thanks to a generous donation from the Jewish Community Foundation, students at Lake Valley Elementary School are having an extra fun time navigating the main hallway.

An $18,315 donation helped pay for removal of the carpet and vinyl flooring and installation of tile, and for the equipment that makes up the “sensory path hallway” just inside the entrance.

Life Point Church and Alta Vista Retirement Community also contributed to the project, Principal Aimee Fleming said.

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Paityn Weathersby, 7, left, makes her way through the Log Jump along the sensory hallway at Lake Valley Elementary School after cutting the ribbon for the official opening celebration on July 30. (Sue Tone/Tribune)

She and teachers and staff spent the afternoon July 25 hanging a “mermaid curtain” of sequins that change color as one’s hand moves over it. They carefully measured the height and distance for the “wave boards” containing a fluid that can be moved by pressing on it. Footprints and patterns of geometric shapes and logs lined the floor.

Teachers and staff were part of the design team that created the sensory pathway along one wall and the newly tiled floor.

The physical movement and tactile response to the equipment benefits all students, general education as well as those with special needs, Fleming said.

“This allows them to have more time to focus in the classroom, and helps with the ability to maintain body and motor control,” she said.

Christine Resnick, executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation, and Paityn Weathersby, 7, cut the ribbon July 30, officially opening the sensory path and inviting students and guests to give it whirl.

Extending the full length of the sensory hallway on the opposite side is the Blackboard Wall.

Fleming asked students to write their answer to “What inspires you?” in colorful chalk pencils. Teachers will be invited to write throughout the year about what makes them proud of their students.

And a surprise display of “feathers” at the front end of the hallway proved popular, as kids and adults alike stood between the large “wings” and had their angel photos taken.

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