Desk bikes, wobble chairs, yoga balls. Walk into many classrooms across America and you will find a drastically different classroom than that of your childhood. I read an article the other day that addressed this shift. Basically the idea is that these sorts of innovative classrooms will help children release pent-up energy while they learn because it allows them to fidget in order to improve focus and to reduce stress and anxiety. Their little bodies move and learning is facilitated. Everyone wins, right? WRONG!
They are a Band-Aid solution to a bigger and deeper problem. We face a dearth of free, outdoor play time. Recesses are being cut back as teachers struggle to squeeze in ever-more teaching time for the sake of standardized tests, despite the fact that kids (especially boys) are oversaturated, exhausted, and unable to focus because they’re not provided the breaks they need.
Isn’t the solution simple? Wouldn’t increases in recess time be a cheaper, much more simple and more effective solution? I mean, kids are receiving less outdoor time than prison inmates for goodness sakes. Wouldn’t simply extending recess times or giving them more frequent play periods do far more than what those wobble chairs do? I think so and it seems many experts agree.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think kids should play more and have less structured learning? Do you think wobble chairs are the answer? Do you think our kids are better off than we were when we had more time and freedom to just play? Weigh in below. I’m curious to hear your thoughts!