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

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Fruitvale woman charged with impaired driving in 2019 crash that killed 2 teens

A 15-year-old boy and 18-year-old woman, both from Fruitvale, died in the crash that sent the vehicle into the river

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

The city is reverting back to virtual council meetings. Photo: Connor Trembley
City of Rossland reverts back to virtual council meetings

Masks are also mandatory now in city facilities. Photo: Connor Trembley

L-R: Kootenay Co-op general manager Ari Derfel, grocery manager Erin Morrison, and security guard Akshay Sharma. The Kootenay Co-op has hired a security company to protect staff from abusive customers who don’t wish to wear masks. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Mask acceptance varies between different business outlets in Nelson

A small percentage of shoppers have tried flouting the rule, and Kootenay Co-op has hired a security guard.

Crews retrieved the overturned commercial truck from the crash scene on Friday, Nov. 20. Photo: Betsy Kline
UPDATE: Kootenay woman dies in Genelle collision

The incident occurred Thursday, Nov. 19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

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

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Most Read