Before we moved to Battle Creek, my kids attended the public school by our home. The building was new and the principal was wonderful, but the school was overpopulated. My son’s kindergarten class had over 30 kids, a first-year teacher, and no aide. My son was a quiet wanderer, which made him nearly invisible.
Unless he was in a chair. He tipped over a lot of chairs. It wasn’t intentional. Sitting always involved a little swaying.
His teacher spoke to him about this. She spoke to me about it. I spoke to him about it, but he just couldn’t help it.
We came to BCACS halfway through his kindergarten year. I was nervous for my quiet wanderer, but there was no need. His invisibility days were over. His teacher, Miss Judy Rohr, had him in her sights and he bloomed under her care. The wandering stopped, but the swaying remained.
Miss Judy didn’t seem to mind, assuring me young kids just need to move.
Current kindergarten teacher Ms. Devin Dubois agrees. Instead of trying to change the kids, she decided to change the chairs.
Her research into flexible seating revealed that movement increases airflow to the brain, which enhances a child’s focus.
“This made total sense to me,” Ms. Dubois wrote me in an email. “In order to meet the needs of all my students, I have to differentiate my instructions. So why not differentiate what we sit on!”
Ms. Dubois applied for a “Kinesthetic in Kinder” grant, which the Guido A and Elizabeth H Binda Foundation in coordination with the Calhoun Intermediate School District awarded her. Now our kindergarteners can choose how they sit and sway.
Each day her students select from five different seating choices, which include yoga balls, yoga mats, bouncy bands, and yoga seat discs. Each item enables a little “wiggle” room while sitting for instruction.
“Students can bounce, wobble, tap their foot on the bouncy band, all without bothering or getting in the way of other students’ learning,” Ms. Dubois wrote. “They are constantly moving, which means good air flow is getting to their brains, allowing them to focus more on their learning, which in turn, I hope, enhances their learning experience for them.”
Basically, kids like my son can wobble but not fall down.
Seeing photos of students using these creative chairs made me miss my little wobbler – now a senior in high school. I also felt a surge of gratitude.
It took time to write that grant. Personal, outside-of-school time. Our teachers are generous like that.
Catholic schools depend on sacrifice. As parents, we sacrifice our treasure to send our kids to the BCACS. Sometimes we forget our teachers sacrifice right alongside us.