Norwalk teachers use adaptive seating to engage students

Posted: Updated:

Two local teachers have changed the way their students learn by letting them move their bodies to keep their minds focused.

A pair of innovative classrooms can be found at Tracey Elementary School in Norwalk, where first grade teacher Stefan Steiner used a grant to redo his room.

Steiner took out traditional school seats for wobbly stools, bouncy balls and cushions.

"In grad school, I'd started to do some research on flexible seats," says Steiner. "And how if students are allowed to move their bodies, it increases the blood flow to their brain, and ultimately increases their focus."

Steiner says his students are allowed to switch seats throughout the day, giving them the chance to choose what their mind and body want.

The unique idea spread to across the hall, where special education teacher Kim Hellthaler put her own spin on a different style of class seating.

She says a local shop donated tires, which Hellthaler's husband added coating and paint for students to use for seating.

Hellthaler says the change has made her students excited and more engaged.

Both teachers say parents and the school's principal have supported their efforts.

They have looked for additional grants to bring in other ideas like standing desks to classrooms.

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