Yoga balls replace chairs in classroom

Published 2:17 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

An Opp Elementary School teacher has taken the chairs away from her students, but not in the way one would expect.

Fourth grade teacher Lisa Holloway replaced the chairs with yoga balls.

Holloway said she was going back to school for her master’s and was doing research and learned the benefits of yoga balls in the classroom.

“Using yoga balls as opposed to chairs is supposed to keep them focused because of the small movements,” she said.

The students participated in the Covington County Fair, and won some fair prize money with which they purchased the balls, she said.

“We got them the second week in October,” she said. “I can definitely see a difference in our teams,” she said.

Additionally, Holloway said they compared weekly reading scores and their STAR testing has improved since getting the yoga balls.

“I’ve been really impressed,” she said.

Holloway said the biggest challenge for the students was getting their eyes adapted.

And it’s even been a behavior incentive.

“No one wants to lose their balls,” she said.

Holloway said she also talked to a physical therapist who told her that sitting on a yoga ball as compared to sitting in a chair is good for posture in children.

Research shows that balance balls can help children with sensory processing disorder, students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or fidgety children.

A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy showed that students with ADHD who use therapy balls improve not only their behavior but the legible word productivity.

A Mayo Clinic study in 2007 agreed.

In that study, they found that children who were able to move around were more attentive because they were able to burn off excess energy on the ball.

OES Principal Shawn Short was very supportive of the innovative chairs in the classroom.

“It’s a great thing,” he said. “And they cost a lot less than traditional chairs, as well. It’s been successful in this classroom.”

Short commended Holloway for stepping outside the box to try something different.