Digital Exclusive: Loess Hills Elementary School introduces sensory hallway

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A Siouxland school is using a special floor to help its students.

On Wednesday morning, Loess Hills Elementary Schools introduced a sensory floor to see how it would transform some of its youngest minds.

The sensory hallway gives kids an opportunity to get out of the classroom and give their brains a break.

“So anytime that you can get students up and moving, it really helps with their brain activity and keeping them engaged in their learning,” said Hannah Strand.

Hannah Strand, a 3rd grade teacher at Loess Hills Elementary, said she came up with the idea for the hallway while working on her thesis for her master’s degree.

She mentions that she sees a lot more engagement from students when they come back to the classroom after completing the sensory hallway.

“I see a lot of engagement when they come back to the classroom. Obviously, they’re very engaged when they do the sensory hallway. So I think it’s win-win for everybody,” said Strand.

“That we can do all kinds of jumps and then we can move and don’t have to keep sitting on our classroom,” said Ashton, 3rd grader.

The hallway also helps students get some stress out.

“During the time that they’re doing it, we also tell them to breathe. So that way they can start to de-escalate themself, especially when they’re frustrated with something that happened in the classroom or at home,” said Amanda Brooks, 3rd grade teacher at Loess Hill Elementary.

The school said between the time periods of January 17 through February 13 and February 14 to March 11, there’s been a 25% decrease in office referrals, from 258 to 194.

The hallway has a variety of activities for students to do, including hopscotch, a dance area, and balance line.

“It’s fun because you can get energy and you can get exercise and stuff,” said Kaylee, grd Grader.

Students can work on sequencing numbers and the alphabet and having hand and eye coordination.

Strand said she likes the hallway because it’s not the same thing over and over again but a different activity to do every few steps. It also adds some bright colors to an ordinary hallway.

“So to have the color on the floor very, very important. It makes it the environment very friendly, very opening, and very welcoming,” said Brooks.

Brooks mentions that she even has a sensory floor in her classroom.

There’s also another sensory hallway outside of the school’s office.

Strand said that more schools in the area should have their own sensory hallways.

“I do think it would be a great thing for all schools in the Sioux City [Community] School District to have, including the high schools and middle schools but maybe more catered towards that age appropriateness. I think that it’s a great thing for everybody,” said Strand.

School officials said the floor helps students refocus while benefiting from a fun, learning exercise.

Loess Hills Elementary School is planning to put in another sensory hallway for the kindergarten and 1st grade students.

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