Just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, nestled between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest is the Academy at SOAR. The Academy at SOAR is an academic adventure program and residential boarding school for youth with learning disabilities including but not limited to ADHD, Dyslexia, and Executive Functioning difficulties. SOAR offers an alternative learning environment that combines academics, adventure, and life skills development to help prepare students academically, socially, and emotionally for adulthood.
Recently I visited their campus and their newly redesigned math classroom, complete with standing desks and Varier Moves™.
As I listened to their experiences with the Move, it was easy to understand how active seating can be beneficial at this school, or any other. Instead of spending time and energy focusing on sitting still, students can now rock, pivot, and fidget while being more present in class.
Take a moment and watch the video and hear directly from both administrators and students on how they have finally found something that works for them.
We’ve grown up thinking that education is a time to sit still and learn. Some children are rewarded for sitting quietly at their desks and doing their lessons, while other children who can’t or won’t sit still are seen as unable to cope in a “normal” classroom setting. What if we pause for a minute and rethink our concept of “normal.” Is it normal to have inquisitive, active children sitting still most of the day?
As a kinesiologist, I believe that movement throughout the day should be celebrated and encouraged. It is ironic that we ask our children to sit still and stop fidgeting in school even though we now have the research to prove how detrimental it is to our health. Everywhere I look, there is a message that static sitting is inferior. There is even a grave slogan that caught media attention that says “sitting is the new smoking.” But yet we still seem comfortable with allowing, and in many cases forcing our kids to sit still for a large portion of their day.
Our children seem to innately know the benefits of movement, so I encourage parents, teachers, and administrators to celebrate their true nature and give kids the tools for being the best version of themselves.
About the Author
Stevyn Guinnip has a masters degree in kinesiology and is a veteran in the fitness industry. She has a wide range of experience including NIH research, personal training, corporate wellness, cardiac rehab, group fitness, and launching fitness programs in both the US and Australia. Stevyn believes that if you seek wellness, you will find freedom. She also believes in the importance of the integrated core muscles including the (often neglected) pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm which are impacted by good posture, breathing, and movement.