Standing desks, bouncy bands part of new kinesthetic classrooms - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Standing desks, bouncy bands part of new kinesthetic classrooms at Wilder Elementary

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Standing desks were added to Wilder Elementary as part of the school's effort to increase movement (Photo by Pete Ruiz, WDRB News) Standing desks were added to Wilder Elementary as part of the school's effort to increase movement (Photo by Pete Ruiz, WDRB News)
Photo by Pete Ruiz, WDRB News Photo by Pete Ruiz, WDRB News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students returning to Wilder Elementary after their summer break found a new and innovative way of learning when they arrived in their classrooms.

Standing desks, bouncy bands, rock and rollers and other pieces of kinesthetic equipment that promote movement were added to a number of classrooms during the summer as part of the school's privately funded, parent-driven effort “Let’s Move Wilder!” 

Kids at Wilder Elementary could hardly stay focused with a news camera pointed at them Friday. On any given day though, it can be difficult to concentrate in class.

That is why some students get the opportunity to let their feet silently bounce away on bands strapped to their desk. Or, rock their feet back and fort on so-called rock and rollers. "We knew we were onto something," said Mary Stone, a parent at Wilder.

Stone and Sarah Rosenbalm have seen the equipment work for their own kids. "It just helps him pay attention a little more, instead of playing with pencils, when he could kind of wiggle his feet, he stopped playing with pencils and actually started writing," Rosenbalm explained.

"Let's Move Wilder!" is privately funded by parents, local businesses and organizations. The PTA raised money and applied for grants. New this school year, seven classrooms have the bouncy bands, rock and rollers and standing desks, even for teachers. "This is perfect for me, I don't need a lot. I don't like clutter," said one teacher about her tall desk.

"They're testing it out for us, seeing what they like, what they don't, asking the kids, making sure they all get a chance to try it," said Stone.

The equipment is limited, and students have to take their turn in the classrooms that have the gear. "It is a hot commodity!" said Rosenbalm "It's been in such demand, (one teacher has) she's had to do an official sign up sheet so the kids know when they're turn is coming up," said Stone.

Research shows with movement, kids are less likely to become distracted. Plus,  it is easier to retain information and switch between tasks. "Our goal is to ultimately outfit this school with as much equipment as they need, we will keep raising funds for as long as it takes," said Stone.

“Engaged students are successful students, and we are always seeking new and innovative ways to connect our kids with learning,” said Wilder Elementary principal Bill Perkins. “Our students’ young minds and bodies are full of energy and this allows both to operate in concert. I am proud that our parents are so invested in student achievement and have made this commitment to enhance our school community.” 

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, students will spend more than four hours a day sitting at school and an additional seven hours sitting outside class time. Research has shown that the human brain can operate at optimal levels when the body is in motion.

Perkins says that foundation was the cornerstone of the movement to bring movement to the education experience at Wilder. 

“Let’s Move Wilder!” aims to fit more classrooms with kinesthetic equipment throughout the year and will be seeking private donations as well as holding fundraisers like Wilder’s annual walk-a-thon on Sept. 16.  

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