Elementary school transforming the way students learn with 'bouncy chairs'

Elementary school transforming the way students learn with 'bouncy chairs'
Updated: Sep. 22, 2017 at 7:20 PM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - Forget the old days of students sitting desks and teachers forcing them to sit still.

At Juban Parc Elementary, at any given moment, you can find 1st through 5th graders either bouncing, standing, swiveling, or lying on a futon. School administrators are transforming the way some students who don't like to sit still can learn.

"Their motivation and their engagement are truly above what I thought it could ever be," said Principal Shanna Steed.

Last summer, 4th grade teacher, Sarah McCrary, suggested flexible seating options for her classroom. Principal Steed and McCrary researched the idea, realized the benefits, and then the good news traveled fast. Four classrooms tested out the flexible seating options last year. Now, almost every teacher has a fluffy butterfly chair and standing desks as an alternative to sitting.

Students such as Logan Wollfarth like the change. He says normal chairs "felt boring."

"I probably have multiple favorites like the balls, the tall table, the wobbly stools," said Wollfarth.

Jackson Seguin, another student, says at times, he becomes restless, so the bouncy ball is the perfect option for him. "I can just bounce and move around and stuff and it's way better than just sitting in a seat."

McCrary says the initiative started to help students focus on assignments right in front of them. "If part of their brain is not keeping them still, that part of their brain can focus on their work." However, it quickly transformed the students' sense of independence. "They're taking charge of their own learning and that one choice gives them that feeling of empowerment," said McCrary.

"Just a little bit of movement helps them stay so engaged," said Kelli Lowery, another teacher. She says she can already see the direct correlation to this initiative having a positive effect on grades.

For the teachers worried they might lose control in the classroom, the effect was quite the opposite. "It really does help us to start transforming those classrooms into a 21st century classroom with 21st century learners. That's what it's all about," said Steed.

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