The future is bright for Coronado Elementary School with the “Positivity Project” in full effect.
Casey Bell, a second-grade teacher at the K-8 school, had the idea for the project because she wanted to create a positive environment and atmosphere for the students.
“If they are in an encouraging environment all the time, they’ll start to feel it,” she said. “We want this to be their safe spot, their happy place, in case they don’t have one.”
As part of Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27, a group of more than 30 volunteers outlined and painted sensory paths in the Palominas Unified School District school’s courtyard to make walking from building to building more fun for all the students.
“We took her vision and put them together,” said Brenda Petitt, one of the volunteers who put the paths together. “If they want to jump, they can jump. If they want to walk, they can walk on it.
The paths feature brightly colored letters, numbers, paw prints, arrows and lily pads for students to walk, run, jump and hop on.
In addition to making the school more attractive, the paths help the primary students learn the alphabet and counting, as well as become mentally and physically stimulated — which helps with learning.
“I’ve seen lots of smiling faces and giggling,” said Coronado Principal Shelley Woodman. “I’ve even seen our junior high students having fun on them.”
Jaden Walters, a second-grader in Bell’s class, said the paths are really fun because she can do a number of different activities on her way to other buildings. Her favorite part is the numbers, because she can hop from each number.
So far, two projects have been completed as part of the project, with many in the works. Bell expects the project to continue well into next years as there are a number of beautification projects the teaches want to complete around the school.
“We had a rough year last year at the Coronado campus, so we wanted to promote encouragement and positivity,” Woodman said.
Bell added the idea for spreading positivity around the Palominas Unified School District campus came after a Coronado student committed suicide at the school in January. She said the teachers and staff wanted to change how they were feeling and provide a positive environment for the students.
“In society, more and more kids have rough lives, and you just don’t know what’s going on,” Woodman said. “We want to provide a safe environment where we show you’re loved and we want the best for you.”
The first project was completed over the school’s fall break when teachers volunteered their time to paint the boys and girls junior high bathrooms. They painted positive quotes and phrases on the bathroom walls and stall doors. Bell said they plan to paint the other bathrooms with the same positive messages.
The school is also in the midst of having multiple murals being created in the building, and Woodman wants to and more colors and kid-friendly things to the courtyard to make it more of a “kid zone.”