Academy at SOAR
Just outside 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. Combining academics, adventure, and life skills development. To help prepare students academically, socially, and emotionally for adulthood.
Visiting a SOAR Classroom
Recently I visited their campus and their newly redesigned math classroom. Complete with standing desks and multiple Varier Move™ Sit-stand stools.
As I listened to their experiences with the Move sit-stand stool. 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 and participating in class.
Would you mind taking a moment to watch the video and hear directly from both administrators and students? They have finally found something that works well 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. In comparison, 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. Ironically, 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. Even a grave slogan 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 know the benefits of movement innately. 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 master’s degree in kinesiology. She is also a veteran in the fitness industry. She has a wide range of experience including NIH research, personal training, corporate wellness, cardiac rehab, and group fitness. Stevyn is responsible for 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 integrated core muscles. Including the (often neglected) pelvic floor muscles and diaphragm which are impacted by good posture, breathing, and movement.