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Local students ‘desk-pedalling’ their way to better learning

MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – It’s now fairly well-established that kids learn better when they are active, but how do you let them move while keeping down the chaos in the classroom?

One local school is letting students pedal their way through their learning day by providing some very interesting desks.

Laity View Elementary in Maple Ridge bought two “kinaesthetic” motion desks and put them into classrooms in September.

“They are raised desks with bicycles attached to them so, basically, students sit and pedal while they work,” says Laity View principal Shelley Linton. “We wanted to see if they would benefit students’ behaviour, learning and focus in the classroom.”

After 2.5 months, the desks — which each seat two students — have proven to be hugely popular with both students and teachers.

“I’ve talked to lots of kids about them,” Linton tells NEWS 1130. “They love them and [the desks] are used constantly. What they say is that it helps them to focus — if they feel fidgety, they can sit and pedal. One of them told me he doesn’t get antsy in class anymore and it keeps him out of trouble because he’s busy spinning away on the bike.”

Linton points to other stories of students who have benefited from being physically active while learning.

“We have a couple of kids who were often off-task — sent to the hallway or down to the office — and instead the teacher can now get them to pedal on the bike. We’ve had a lot less of that type of disruptive behaviour in the classroom because the teacher has a place to send them to work,” she says.

“If we had lots of money, we would have them in every classroom. But they are very expensive. A double pedal-bike desk is about $2,400.”

The desks have proved so popular with students, the school has to come up with a sign-up system to allow every kid to get a turn.

“Sometimes kids just need to be busy and moving. It really has made a huge difference,” says Linton. “What it shows me is that kids really need more movement than we give them. If we can have more options for kids, I think they will be more focused and ultimately learn more.”

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