MEG McINTYRE / Sentinel Staff

Mount Caesar Elementary School students Hunter Hobbs, left, and Kal Wilson follow one of the new sensory pathways in the hallway.

Visitors to Troy Elementary School and Mount Caesar Elementary School in Swanzey might notice more color — and movement — in the hallways this year.

The schools recently unveiled new “sensory pathways,” colorful winding walkways designed to engage students’ brains and bodies at the same time. Situated in Troy’s multi-purpose room and in a long hallway at Mount Caesar, the pathways feature different stations like hopscotch, wall push-ups, an “infinity walk” and even yoga poses.

Each station has its own colors, shapes, and numbers and asks students to use different movements such as hopping, swirling and jumping. Monadnock Regional School District staff spent about a year researching before installing them this summer, according to Anne Kline, an occupational therapist in the district.

“What we really wanted to do was to create something that anyone can use for any learning tool,” Kline said. “... And it’s just a way to positively get out their energy and learn at the same time.”

The pathways could be used to build any number of skills, said Mount Caesar Principal Melissa Suarez, from number and letter identification to motor planning and social skills. Teachers can use them as a tool for reinforcing classroom concepts or encouraging movement during indoor recess time, but they’re also a resource for students who have trouble sitting still during class.

“It’s kind of our culture here to allow students to use our building, use our space to help them regulate,” Suarez said. “And so, by putting it in a spot that’s accessible to everybody that has a beginning and an end point, it really, I think, helps our kiddos [when] maybe they’re sitting too long, and they just need to go move.”

Kline said she has already seen some of the students she works with respond to the pathway, including a student who is nonverbal who has taken well to using the wall push-up station.

“It helps increase their independence, their self-worth, their feelings. They can be creative,” Kline said.

She noted that staff plan to install more pathways in some of Monadnock’s other schools, potentially over the December break. As each of the pathways is customized to each school, it takes time to design and install, along with writing a manual for teachers. Mount Caesar’s pathway took about 48 hours in all to finish this summer, she said.

In Troy, the project took about 24 hours from start to finish, she said. The pathway there has “taken off,” according to Principal Kevin Stone.

“Kids go at lunchtime when they’re finished eating their lunch. They go and they work their way through it,” Stone said. “It’s really been great.”

ConVal looking for craft vendors

ConVal Regional High School is now accepting vendors for its annual Holiday Craft Fair, which is scheduled for Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school. Presented by and benefiting the class of 2020, the fair will feature holiday gifts and food offerings.

The event is free to attend, but vendors will be asked to pay a small fee to participate. Anyone interested in becoming a vendor is asked to contact Jim Wickham at 924-3869, extension 4301, or jwickham@conval.edu.

Schools receive literacy grants

Troy Elementary School has been named the recipient of an At-Risk Children grant from the Children’s Literacy Foundation for fall 2019. The grant was awarded to 10 organizations in New Hampshire and Vermont that serve children who are considered “at-risk,” of low income or who come from rural areas.

The funds could go toward a storytelling event, a family discussion about reading and literacy, and a new onsite library of children’s books for the school.

Two other local elementary schools, Franklin Elementary School in Keene and Hinsdale Elementary School, kicked off a year of reading recently as recipients of the Year of the Book literacy grant from the foundation. The $25,000 grants were awarded to 10 schools in Vermont and New Hampshire for programs during the 2019-20 school year.

The grants will fund a range of initiatives, such as visits from authors from New Hampshire and Vermont, family literacy events, new books for the classroom and 10 books for each child that they pick out. The goal is to promote a “culture of literacy” and provide high-quality reading materials for all children, especially children living in rural or low-income areas.

Dublin school remodels space

The Dublin Christian Academy recently unveiled a newly remodeled science classroom and lab space. The updated space can accommodate up to 24 students and will be used by 7th- to 12th-graders studying anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, physical science and earth science.

The school community raised funds for the improvements through a service project, Feed the Need, in which students packed 10,000 nutritious meals for needy students in Haiti. Individuals and businesses sponsored the project, and the proceeds were put into the school’s capital fund.

Over the summer, the school also relocated its infirmary and student life office to the classroom building to give students more direct access to these services.

What’s going on in your school? Let us know! Education reporter Meg McIntyre can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or mmcintyre@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @MMcIntyreKS.