Teacher Replaces 5th-Grade's Chairs With Yoga Balls

Yoga BallFidgeting is a GOOD thing in one fifth-grade class in West Chester, Pennsylvania: Westtown-Thornbury Elementary School teacher Robbi Giuliano has replaced all her students’ stationary seats with yoga balls. Om-azing!

I think this is absolutely brilliant and I wish my daughter’s school would do the same thing. The teacher says that she sees improved attention and motivation in her students, and I am not surprised. Sitting still all day long is not only TERRIBLE for anyone’s health (like, it literally takes years off of your life, seriously), but it’s totally draining and vitality-sapping, especially for little kids who are filled with energy! Plus, this is such a great lesson for kids to see how you can build exercise and movement right in to your everyday life; it doesn’t have to be a big production.

Yoga balls, also called stability or exercise balls, basically keep you slightly active instead of totally passive, the way you are in a chair. Because you have to work to stay balanced, your muscles are engaged and your blood flow is increased, which means you’re not only more physically engaged, but your mental alertness is increased as well. They’re also way better for your posture than the vast majority of chairs (I write, as I sit slumped in front of my totally NON-ergonomic desk chair!). Tons of studies have been done showing that things like yoga balls and standing desks increase productivity in the work place (not to mention your life span), and now schools are catching on.

I’ll admit that I have a hard time seeing how this could work for an entire school day. It seems like it would be an awesome idea for a good chunk of time, like maybe a couple of class periods or more, but Giuliano’s been doing it for THREE YEARS and she says it works great! The rules in her class are that kids have to keep their bottoms on the balls and feet on the floor, but they’re allowed to bounce and bob to their hearts’ content. If someone really doesn’t want to use a yoga ball, he or she doesn’t have to, but Giuliano says that’s only happened once since she started doing it.

They’re pretty inexpensive, too -- I just did a quick Google search and found them for as low as $11 on Amazon (the one in the photo above is $20.99 at kmart.com). I bet you could buy them in bulk for even less. This is one of those no-brainer ideas that could really have a big impact not only on kids’ immediate health, but on their whole outlook about fitness. Yoga balls for everyone!

What do you think -- would you want yoga balls in your kid’s class?


Image via kmart

education, elementary school, kid health


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tuffy... tuffymama

Homeschool here, so yes, we do use yoga balls for seating sometimes. ODS also uses one at his desk and one in his living room.

bella... bellacazzate

I'm sitting on one now. At my desk. In my office. And I'm not the only one. I've found that the best place to buy is at Marshall's or TJ/TKMaxx... always a good brand discounted to a great price. I was having some back problems/stiffness due to hunching over my computer all day, but after about a week of using my Swiss ball, I was cured of my ailments. Definitely recommend it. 

aout aout

One of our nephew's has a short attention span.  His teacher put half a ball on his seat for him to be able to bounce on in class.  From what my s-i-l told me, its helped immensely.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Waiting for the day that someone decides that this is "religion" and throws a hissy over it.

Seriously, I think things like this are awesome ideas, especially since I'm the mom of a super-energy little boy. We're fortunate to have him in a school that does a couple of recess breaks a day, and his teachers are awesome about getting them outside as much as possible. They're old-school, so a little rain or a little cold doesn't matter... they still get them outside. It's wonderful for him to blow off some of that steam.

I'd love it if they gave him some sort of additional outlet like Yoga balls, or something like another teacher did (in WI or MN, maybe?)... they were standing desks, I think, with little swing-bars for feet. Kids could either stand at the desks or sit on tall barstools, and they could swing their feet on these little swing-bars as much as they want. Same concept - LET THEM MOVE!!

nonmember avatar june

I am on my feet all day at work so i have no use for this. But one girl in the office tried using one as a chair for months and says it really screwed up her back and is quite painful after a while. Is there any truth to that?

cleig... cleigh717

I think a few hrs at a time is okay or beneficial if u have back problems but all the time usage can create back problems I have heard. Or maybe with kids its different bc their backs r more supple. Idk.

amiec... amiecanflie

Ross has them for like 8 dollars. I love it :] 

lulou lulou

Id be fine with them.  Thinking I should get one, Id prefer a treadmill desk too - for me or my school age kids, since good office chairs are about the same price as a treadmill anyway.

curly... curlygirl31

At my sons school some teachers use T stools in their classrooms. Those help too.

Todd Vrancic

LOL @PonyChaser!  And it will either be an atheist or a "christian."

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