School news

Brain and Sensory labs spark excitement and development in pre-K students



Students are actively learning in the classroom, but sometimes they need a break. 

The Brain Lab at Wildcat Way School for Early Learning provides a space where pre-K students can engage in physical activity to self-regulate and return to the learning environment more focused and ready to learn. 

“Our Brain Lab gets students moving and engages their motor, balance, vestibular and cognitive systems,” said Catheryn Hefner, behavior interventionist at Wildcat Way. “Research has shown that physical activity has a direct link to better self-regulation and we have definitely seen the positive impact on our students!” 

All pre-K classes at Wildcat Way visit the lab twice a week and engage in outside motor time during the rest of the week. Students also have the opportunity to visit the lab when they need small breaks throughout the day. 

Hefner notes that through the Brain Lab, they hope to increase student reading readiness, develop a solid math foundation and help them be overall ready to learn in the classroom. 

Similarly, Tiger Trail has a Sensory Motor Lab that helps their pre-K students build motor abilities. 

“Body movements such as running, climbing, crawling and biking build pathways across the brain that help with reading and math skills,” said Amanda Ruiz, director at Tiger Trail. “We serve three to five-year-old students, which is the precise age that they are evolving. Building out this curriculum and providing them time to practice these skills is essential for their development.” 

The Sensory Motor Lab was primarily funded by a Spring Branch Education Foundation grant and a Walmart Community grant, as well as campus funds throughout the years. Students visit the lab daily and engage in different activities, including the balance beam and hanging bar, among others. 

“When students come to the Sensory Motor Lab you can hear laughter and see pure excitement on their faces,” added Ruiz. “It is one of their favorite places to be and a definite point of pride for Tiger Trail!” 

See the full album of students enjoying the labs!