CalArts Community Arts Partnership Lead Instructor Joshua Winklhofer paints letters on the Sensory Pathway at Rosedell Elementary School in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Former CalArts student paints permanent sensory pathway at Rosedell

Recently graduated CalArts student Joshua Winklhofer may have his paintings hung in galleries  one day, but for now his work will be showcased and used at Rosedell Elementary School.

Over the past week, Winklhofer, a lead instructor with the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), has been painting outside a few of the classrooms a “permanent sensory pathway.” The pathway includes colorful animal tracks, hopscotch, painted letters of the alphabet and a number of other activities designed to stimulate students. The pathway also includes painted community signs in order to encourage students to learn about the common street signs and warnings.  

Rachel Villanueva displays the plan for the Sensory Pathway still under construction behind her at Rosedell Elementary School in Saugus on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“This is for ‘sensory breaks,’ which (the students) need those because if they’re wiggly in the classroom they can come out here and get the wiggles out,” said Rachel Villanueva, parent-volunteer who led the design of the pathway.

“It helps organize and regulate their energy levels, and it’s really motivated by occupational therapists as they see what kids really need to regulate themselves,” said Rosedell Assistant Principal Lisa Loscos. “We saw this space, cleaned it out and we felt like it was a really great opportunity to give kids, both in our special day classes and primary students, more movement breaks.”

CalArts Community Arts Partnership Lead Instructor Joshua Winklhofer paints designs on the Sensory Pathway at Rosedell Elementary School in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

After Winklhofer finished his painting of the ground Friday, school officials began planning for the installation of a “hand wall” — which will encourage kids to exercise by jumping in the air or holding a squat position — and a “musical wall” — which will feature colorful PVC piping and rubber mallets for kids to play tunes on.

Winklhofer said he was happy to do the work because although he did not attend Rosedell Elementary, the school still has a special place for him in his heart because his mom used to work there.

Rosedell Elementary School Assistant Principal Lisa Loscos, left, and Principal Kathy Stendel walk on the Sensory Pathway at Rosedell Elementary School in Santa Clarita on Thursday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Professionally, this looks really good,” said Winklhofer in response to a question of why he was spending his time making the intricate project on the Rosedell campus. “But more importantly, it’s about giving back to the community and the school that my mom was a teacher at.”

The pathway will be open to kids of all ages and grades and will be made available to them by a teacher or school staff.

“The idea was that we wanted to give the students an opportunity to take those brain breaks when they need them,” said Rosedell Principal Kathy Stendel. “But the hope is that as they take brain break and they come out of the classroom that they can kind of regroup and go back and be ready for learning.”

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