Mississippi State student group builds sensory pathways at local elementary school

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Four MSU students standing in front of the solar system pathway.

STARKVILLE, Miss – Pre-k, kindergarteners and first graders at Starkville’s Sudduth Elementary School have new sensory pathways for students, all thanks to the Association of Educators at Mississippi State (AEMS).

AEMS is a service-based organization for teacher education students in elementary, secondary, music education, special education and physical education.

AEMS president, Mallory Malone, explained that in a school setting, sensory pathways are structured for students to move after sitting for a while. The pathways allow students to take a break from the classroom and reset. 

Malone explained that one of the group’s main goals is to connect with fellow future teachers while taking on service projects twice a year that promote student excellence in public schools. Past projects have included a coat drive, a cleaning supply drive and tutoring sessions.

“We do one big project a semester. Each semester we go out into the community and do something to assist the schools,” Malone said. “We help out in any way we can.”

Sudduth’s principal, Morgan Abraham, said they are grateful the Mississippi State University AEMS student group thought of the school when they began to plan their project. She continued to say she was sure students would use the sensory pathways daily.

“AEMS students have provided science-themed sensory paths for Sudduth Elementary students to explore as they move around the building. The solar system sensory path provides a gross motor connection to our PreK, kindergarten, and 1st-grade thematic units focused on things around us,” Abraham said. “The lily pad and frog themed pathway is a wonderful way to explore life cycles and animal adaptations through movement.”

Malone said the student group made three large designs for Sudduth Elementary:  A solar system pathway; a leapfrog pathway where students can jump from lily pad to lily pad; and a rainbow racetrack pathway where students can follow the twists and turns of different colored lines and can even race their friends.

“It’s wonderful to be able to leave our mark on something that will have lasting benefits for the students,” said Malone.

Established in 1903, MSU’s College of Education is now home to six academic departments, one research unit and numerous service units. For more about the college, visit //www.educ.msstate.edu/.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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