AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - You're letting a bunch of six-year-olds sit on what?
That was the question first grade teacher Jennifer Gleaves got used to hearing after making an unusual decision for her students at Carver Early Childhood Academy (ECA).
She decided a few weeks ago to replace the chairs in her classroom with stability balls.
"I noticed this year I had a wide range of students that were having a hard time focusing and staying engaged in the learning process," said Gleaves. "I had remembered an article I had seen about using stability balls in the classroom and began the research process."
The novelty wore off in just a few days, and Gleaves said since then her students use the stability balls just as if they were normal chairs.
"[School] wasn't fun on chairs but it's fun on these," said Creed Busby, a first grader in Gleaves' class.
Her students know these chairs are not toys, and when they misbehave and lose their chair, it's like "you took their birthday away," said Gleaves.
"If you don't [follow the rules] you have to get a regular chair again for about a week," said Trinity Roberts, a first grader in Gleaves' class.
"Behavior issues I was having prior to using the stability balls is down to almost none," said Gleaves. "Students are staying active and engaged for longer periods of time. They may stop for a second and bounce, and then they get right back refocused on what they're doing."
Gleaves taught her students why these chairs can help them learn, and said they are beginning to see how stability balls are making a difference.
"It helps us pump more blood into our brain when we bounce on it if we need a little brain break," said Roberts.
"It helps us get the wiggles out," said Busby.
Students aren't the only ones seeing these differences.
"I've even had parents commenting on seeing an increase and a rise in their number grades which is great," said Gleaves. "Parents have been very supportive and excited along with us."
About 8-10 more classes at Carver ECA are transitioning to stability ball chairs.
If other classes see as much success as Gleaves did, the entire school plans to make the switch.