New School Furniture Encourages Movement

Daybreak's Heather Ly takes a closer look at Sciole Elementary, which incorporates movement by using stability balls and wobble chairs.

LANCASTER, N.Y. - You probably remember being told to sit still and face the front of the class, but in one local school district, wiggling, wobbling and moving around is actually encouraged.

John A. Sciole Elementary School teacher Kristin Longhouse wanted to try something new with her second grade class.  She said classroom setups, with neat rows of desks, haven't changed all that much over the years, and she feels kids need more movement in the classroom.

With support from the district, she traded regular desks and chairs for tables, stability balls, scoop rocker chairs, and wobble stools.  Students can rock and bounce while they read or write, and Longhouse says despite what you might think, kids are actually more focused when they are allowed a bit of freedom.

"It has decreased the amount of distracted and sort of attention-seeking behavior because the kids, your ADHD kids, the kids who need that extra bit of movement are getting it," said Longhouse.

Longhouse even saw her students' test scores go up a bit.

She went over rules with the kids at the beginning of the year and reminded them while they can move, they still can't be out of control.  She also had them evaluate each chair for comfort, stability, and how each affected their ability to focus.

Regular chairs and desks are still available if kids prefer those.

The Lancaster School District has a number of so-called "inspired spaces" at several of its schools.

"The Hub" at the high school is a large room with a mix of comfortable chairs, spinning stools and standing spaces so students can move around quickly as the lesson changes.


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