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 man wears a mask while walking down Canyon Street in Creston on Nov. 13. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston resident living with COVID-19 reflects on experience

Contracting and living with the virus, she said, has led to a “major reset” in her life

Creston Town Hall is located on 10 Avenue North. File photo
Council Column: November Update

“Collaboratively, our local governments and community partners are working together to create a strong foundation for economic development and recovery,” writes councillor Jen Comer

Tia Wayling is the recreation services coordinator with the Regional District of Central Kootenay. File photo
Rec Perspectives: Winter Pickleball…It’s a Thing!

“We are seeing pickleballers braving the cold on dry days as well. Some of the local pickleball enthusiasts have even created a Facebook group and use it to message each other to let everyone know who’s up for a round of games.”

With new Provincial Health Orders, area sports teams will suspend all travel including the Trail Smoke Eaters and Trail minor hockey rep teams and some house teams. Photo: Jim Bailey.
New COVID regs suspend junior and minor hockey rep play

All West Kootenay travelling hockey teams have been grounded until Dec. 7

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Pictured is the Cranbrook gravel pit, located between two graveyards near the public works yard. This is where two lost kids were located by a Salvador Ready Mix driver on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Two lost Cranbrook kids find their way home thanks to Salvador Ready Mix driver

The driver found the children wandering near the gravel pits in Cranbrook

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Most Read