Through a generous donation from Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust (VSBIT) and Vermont Education Health Initiative (VEHI), Colchester School District has received 165 yoga/stability balls to further facilitate some of its health and wellness initiatives in our schools!
The stability balls will be put to a variety of excellent uses, including as student and staff chairs as well as for physical education and for use in physical and occupational therapy.
“Being still takes a lot of energy for some kids,” Colchester Middle School educator Stephanie Miller said. “I offer them the opportunity to sit on something that is soft and that allows them to move at the same time. It gives them the ability to fidget physically while allowing them to concentrate on their work.”
In physical education, the stability balls offer a myriad of uses. “We will use them for physical fitness in developing flexibility and muscle strength,” MBS physical educator Brian Hunt said. “I hope to use them in conjunction with Dyna-Bands for fitness routines. We can use them in gymnastics as one of our stations for strength, flexibility, and so on, and they help students with balance. We can also use them in team-building activities. Another use is to develop skills like throwing; the balls can be used as targets—both stationary and moving.” Used in a physical education setting, the stability balls are also excellent for developing skills in problem solving, cooperation, and communication.
Significant research compiled across an array of sources demonstrates a number of positive outcomes when students use stability balls rather than chairs. For example, research has shown that the use of stability balls engages both hemispheres in the brain, which in turn better engages students’ memory and focus.
The stability balls also have the added benefits of reducing or even eliminating noisy fidgeting and other restless behaviors that are often distracting in the classroom. And because the stability balls require an upright posture in order to maintain balance, core muscle strength also increases. Other benefits include improved circulation and concentration.
In addition to all of their other classroom uses, the stability balls have a number of wonderful uses with occupational therapy, especially to improve upper extremity strength, core strength, coordination, and balance.
Wellness is one of the pathways of the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017, and CSD is taking it very seriously.
Many, many thanks to VSBIT and VEHI for these generous donations!
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