Students swap their desk chairs for yoga balls - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Students swap their desk chairs for yoga balls

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Students at St. Joan of Arc have ditched their desk chairs for yoga balls. Teachers say the stability balls help students bounce their way to better grades

Sixth grade students at St. Joan of Arc school are learning Spanish today.  It looks like a normal class, but the students have swapped their desk chairs for yoga balls. 12-year-old Luke Despoth enjoys bouncing his way through the school day.

"We normally do this now we can roll around bounce a little they're really nice I like them," he says. 

It's a trend that appears to be keeping kids from falling asleep in the classroom. The students have been sitting on the balls for about two weeks. Math teacher Linda Bombrys spear-headed the program. She says research shows the balls help students to focus.

"It helps with coordination it helps with core strength it keeps their bodies engaged their minds engaged," she says.

She says she's also seen less behavior problems. The balls never leave the classroom and are only used by Mrs. Bombry's 5th and 6th grade classes. They're required to keep both feet on the floor.

"They know we have specific guidelines they are allowed to do on the yoga balls and things they are not and they're very good. If they need to move, they are either rocking or they know to keep their bottoms on the ball. They can bounce, as long their backsides stay on the ball, and it just seems to work," says Bombrys. 

The math teacher says she also sees less slouching in class.

But teachers stress that safety comes first.  11-year-old Samantha Krouse has a cast on her arm. Teachers wouldn't allow her to sit on one until she got a doctors excuse.    

"It helps us exercise while we are sitting on them because we're always wiggling and stuff. I really like them and I think they help with our posture at least with mine," says Krouse. 

The school paid for the balls, which cost $14 a piece. Staff and students say the investment is worth the kids' health and education. Mrs. Bombrys says there are 120 students who use the balls, and only one has requested to sit in a chair.

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