We have recently been researching a number of articles that discuss the use of Yoga balls in the classroom to replace chairs. Ms. Bardwell’s class at Forest City Elementary School sit on Yoga Balls during lessons and she reports that she is noticing a difference in the students behaviour and concentration. (Teacher ditches chairs for yoga balls in class, sees student improvement) and Principal, Pam George, of Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, Illinois, said that’s one of the reasons they are pleased with the ball chairs is that they are reasonable cost effective compared to good chairs, but they have the added benefit of improving concentration as well as assisting with students good posture. Early concerns about kids playing on them or distracting others proved unfounded, she said in Exercise Balls in the Classroom?
These schools have done their own limited studies, but we have also found a study that was published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy concluding that in students with ADHD, sitting on therapy balls improved behavior and legible word productivity. (meaning improved writing skills)
Mayo Clinic in Rochester seconded those findings in 2007 with a study on the benefits of a chairless classroom. In the Mayo study, which focused on improving learning and reducing obesity by making children more active, researchers found that the ability to move around more while sitting made the students more attentive. Mayo Clinic communications consultant Bob Nellis said that he believes this is because kids are able to burn off excess energy by bouncing on a ball.
So, Sekolah Victory Plus plans to be the first school in Indonesia to introduce classrooms using Yoga balls instead of chairs. Our plan is to start with a class in each division (ECE, Primary and Secondary) and trial for a few weeks or a month and then swap to allow another class to test. Of course, the teachers and students will devise a simple list of essential agreements relating to their use.
Just one more way that SVP is trying to be innovative and moving with the latest pedagogical and health research ! Not to mention they will be fun!