A Cranbrook mother is receiving praise across the world for her design of a sensory path aimed at helping kids in school when they need a movement break. (Chantal Marra file)

Cranbrook mother receives international praise for sensory paths business

Chantal Marra has sold her sensory path packages to schools across the world

A Cranbrook mother is receiving praise across the world for her design of a sensory path aimed at helping kids in school when they need a movement break.

Chantal Marra is a mother to three children ages 11, 13 and 16. Ten years ago she started a vinyl business called Chantal’s Vinyl Expressions. At first she was making signs and mugs, but the business has since evolved into making sensory paths for schools as well.

Marra explained that two of her children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This is what inspired her to begin working on a project at her son’s school, Kootenay Orchards.

The path is made of vinyl stickers that are stuck to the floor and walls in the hallway of the school. There are hop-scotch-like patterns, hands to high-five, circles to follow with your finger, places to stop and take a breath and much more. It gets kids to focus on the task at hand, move their bodies and mentally step away from classwork.

Since the installation of the first sensory path, Marra’s work has gone viral and been shared across the world. A video of her son walking the path has been seen and shared over 16 million times.

She has sold the sensory path packages to schools in Italy, Ireland, Germany, England, the U.K., Australia, Spain, the U.S. and all across Canada.

“I’m continually working on new designs that have gone into pediatric hospitals, pediatricians offices, personal homes and even juvenile facilities,” Marra said. “The teachers and students have all given praise for it and find it helpful for refocusing and redirecting kids when they need a movement break. It’s not meant to be used as a substitute for physical education class, but sometimes kids need a brain break, or to get their wiggles out.”

She has also made adaptations for COVID-19 with three new contactless paths.

“They are all based on no hands touching surfaces to help keep things clean,” Marra explained.

Here in Cranbrook, Marra has installed sensory paths in Pinewood Elementary, Amy Woodlands, Highlands Elementary, Steeples Elementary and the largest one at TM Roberts.

There is also a path at Elkford Elementary school and she sold a few packages to schools in Invermere.

“I was focusing on our local area when I posted the video of my son following the path at Steeples school,” she said. “It was over Christmas break when the school was closed. He came to help me finish up installing and cleaning up so he had taken off his winter boots (that’s why he had no shoes on in the video). When we were done, I asked if he wanted to try it. He loved it!”

Marra says she works closely with every school to modify the design or make the path work for their specific needs. Many schools have been able to purchase the sensory paths through fundraising or government grants as well.

You can check out Marra’s work by visiting her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/chantalspaths.

“I am grateful I get to share this all around the world,” Marra said. “Plus, my son thinks he’s famous!”



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A Cranbrook mother is receiving praise across the world for her design of a sensory path aimed at helping kids in school when they need a movement break. (Chantal Marra file)

A Cranbrook mother is receiving praise across the world for her design of a sensory path aimed at helping kids in school when they need a movement break. (Chantal Marra file)

A Cranbrook mother is receiving praise across the world for her design of a sensory path aimed at helping kids in school when they need a movement break. (Chantal Marra file)

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Green spaces have offered many a sense of peace throughout the pandemic. (Photo Contributed)
Nature Conservancy of Canada matches all donations on Dec. 1

The initiative honours Giving Tuesday, an initiative created to combat Black Friday’s consumerism

Signs are posted at the entrance of newly deactivated roads. (Photo Contributed)
Teck hosts virtual Annual Outdoor Recreationalist Meeting

The Dec. 2 meeting will touch on biodiversity, reclamation, and road rehabilitation

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

File Photo
Missing hunter found dead in South Country

A hunter was reported as overdue on Nov. 29, and was found deceased on Nov. 30 following an RCMP and SAR operation

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read