Behavior interventionist at Freedom Elementary School Crystal Reiner received a $500 grant from the nonprofit, online university, WGU Missouri, which will go towards creating a sensory walk space for students.

A sensory walk space is an open space in a school that is usually a hallway, which allows students to engage in carefully designed activities such as skipping, hopping, bending, squatting and leapfrogging along a path. Projects like Reiner’s can be beneficial for students; especially students who may have trouble concentrating, who are feeling overwhelmed, fidgety or anxious. The space allows students to take a movement break and work off steam, so they can focus on learning while in the classroom.

Freedom Elementary School is one of 15 schools throughout Missouri chosen by WGU Missouri to receive funds for innovative classroom projects. The nonprofit university issued a call for K-12 teachers across the state to nominate proposed classroom projects for the opportunity to receive full or partial funding through its inaugural ‘Fund My Classroom’ initiative, this spring.

Reiner’s proposal was one of more than 200 nominations received statewide, with all of the grants awarded during Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

“We received many innovative and unique ideas from teachers specifying how they plan to improve their classrooms, and we’re so pleased we can help bring several of them to fruition,” Chancellor of WGU Missouri Dr. Angie Besendorfer said. “This inaugural initiative is an opportunity for WGU Missouri to celebrate teachers and thank them for the lasting, positive impact they have on their students.”