Teachers at R.C. Hinsdale Elementary replace chairs with stability balls to promote fitness

EDGEWOOD, Ky. -- A Northern Kentucky Elementary School is balancing education and fitness in an innovative way.

The fourth grade teachers at R.C. Hinsdale in Edgewood have replaced plastic chairs with stability balls. Students have been using the new seating for two weeks.

Teacher Beth King says the idea is to help students’ attention span and concentration level enhance throughout the day.

"As the younger generations become more tablet and computer driven, they do have a harder time with attention span," said fourth grade teacher Beth King.

The stability balls were first implemented in the open-concept fourth grade classrooms for students with attention problems. King and other fourth grade teachers quickly saw a change in behavior in the small amount of kids using the balls. They decided to change the seating for the entire classroom.

"We've found that the students are quieter and more focused," said King.

A grant paid for two stability balls per class. The rest were purchased with the help of classroom funds and parent donations.

King says the stability balls are also encouraging healthier behavior at a young age.

"There's so much research about how they strengthen your core and keep your muscles flexible," said King, "They're also better for your posture."

Fourth grade student Annie Heuker explained how the stability balls work.

"They're kind of like regular balls, but there's pegs. The pegs keep the ball from moving away and us flipping backwards," said Heuker.

At just 9-years-old, Heuker understands the long-term benefits of using a stability ball instead of a plastic chair.

"They help us learn our posture. We've got to stretch our back and use our muscles, our stomach muscles."

Classmate Evan Sis agrees.

"I used to be really squirmy in a chair, but now I can't be really squirmy because I'm sitting on a ball and I kind of need to balance, so I don't fall over," said Sis.

Sis hopes to take his stability ball to fifth grade, too.

"I think it would be better if the whole school could get it because then everybody will be getting better grades."

The fourth grade teachers hope Sis' theory is accurate.

"I'm really curious to see what the long term affects will be, especially with students that do have those hyper tendencies and the trouble focusing with their grades and scores," said King.

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