Burning energy! Montreal students taking bicycle breaks to stay focused
Published Monday, January 18, 2016 11:31AM EST
Students at Allion Elementary School in LaSalle don't have to stay in class all day.
When they're too excited to sit still, they're allowed to head down the hallway and spend time in the saddle.
The school has installed four stationary bicycles -- including one perfectly sized for kindergartners -- in one hallway.
Students say it beats fidgeting in place or getting in trouble for creating a disturbance.
"I come down here, relax, get a book, read for ten minutes then after I go back upstairs and do the rest of my work," said one student.
Principal James Benn said it's a way of combining kinesthetic learning -- learning through doing an activity -- with a traditionally intellectual pursuit.
"It's an opportunity for our students who need a bit of movement to come down, take a break," said Benn.
"We find some of our students are a little more productive after they've had an opportunity to get a little excess energy out."
Benn said teachers at Allion Elementary have been encouraged to send students to the bicycles as needed, and students can ask to leave class if they need to.
"If a student appears to be edgy in class, a little extra energy in there that needs to be dispersed somewhere, the teacher may suggest go down, take a movement break, get some exercise, get a little oxygen," said Benn.
Teacher Marie-France Lacombe says it's not just a way of dodging school: exercise breaks are capped at ten minutes apiece.
She has found some students are able to concentrate better after working out.
"It allows them to come here, work a little, let the brain start moving a bit more and they come back with a better focus and a better view of the activity we are doing in class," said Lacombe.