As they hopped along lily pads, jumped on stars, twirled, and walked steadfastly across a mock balance beam yesterday, students gave a thumbs-up to Summit Academy Community and Middle School – Columbus’ new sensory pathway.

Thoughtfully placed in hallways between classrooms, the school’s colorful, creative new addition provides students an avenue where they can refocus and recharge or just take a break from the classroom, says Principal Cheryl Elliott.

“The sensory pathway offers a positive outlet for students to funnel their energy and refocus,” says Behavior Specialist Rebecca St. Clair, explaining how exercises along the pathway require students to think about accomplishing each consecutive action on the route.

Students build sensory pathways — or connections in the brain — responsible for sight, touch, sound and other senses that enable them to complete complex, multi-stage tasks, according to St. Clair. As students follow the path and complete the series of movements along the way, they work off excess energy and develop their gross motor skills, she adds.

“It’s a playful, yet practical and effective resource for allowing students to bring their best to the classroom,” Elliott says.