EDISON — When students at Edison Elementary School are feeling upset, they now have a place to go to help center themselves.
Last week, the school unveiled a labyrinth — a winding brick path that leads to a center.
The group of teachers and volunteers behind the project wanted to give the school’s students a peaceful place to clear their heads.
“I think this is an awesome thing to have,” said Ruth Richmond, an occupational therapist for the Burlington-Edison School District who serves Edison and Bay View elementary schools.
The hope is that students can utilize the labyrinth to calm down, instead of having to be disciplined, said Burlington-Edison School District art teacher Heidi Herder.
“Finding their center,” said Herder, who helped design and build the labyrinth.
Use of a labyrinth has worked for retired Edison Elementary second-grade teacher Jill Bailey in the time since she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, she said.
“I was just, at the time, needing a place to be centered,” she said. “I needed to slow down and that’s what a labyrinth helps you do.”
As she adjusted to her new normal, Bailey said labyrinths were a way for her to cope.
“It calmed my head and stopped it from running,” she said.
At the center of the labyrinth will be a mosaic heron, an animal with significance to the Coast Salish people, Richmond said. The school’s students chose the heron for the labyrinth.
“(A heron) is calm, still, quiet,” Richmond said. “It has these long skinny legs and is somehow still stable, and that’s what we’ll be here.”
Richmond said she has been to similar labyrinths in the region and was excited to participate in the planning of this one, especially because it will be used by the school’s students.
Additionally, each class at the school is building a stepping stone to line the pathway into the labyrinth, and some students will be making their own labyrinths with finger paint, Herder said.