Jackie Tederick: Nueronasium ABL Labs at Rappahannock County Public Schools, VA

Neuronasium’ ditches desks, allows for student movement

By Holly Jenkins

Special to the Rappahannock News

Commit to Be Fit (C2BF) unveiled a brand new alternative seating classroom to Rappahannock County High School students on Wednesday, August 15. While most traditional classrooms are equipped with rows of desks and chairs, this new classroom features a variety of workstations that allow for purposeful movement throughout the class period. Students can balance, pedal, bounce, stride, stand, and move side to side while engaging in classwork. The classroom, referred to as the neuronasium, is based from the latest brain research that shows a link between movement and learning by increasing attention span, strengthening memory, and boosting brain function.

Jackie Tederick, C2BF Wellness Integration Coordinator, further elaborated on the benefits of the new classroom: “The neuronasium is allowing RCHS to incorporate purposeful movement which results in well behaved, better engaged, and more attentive students. Also, movement puts the brain in a prime learning state to maximize their learning. The students are loving this new alternative approach compared to the traditional classroom of sitting at a desk.” The first class to use the new classroom was the Personal Fitness and Nutrition class, led by C2BF team members Tederick and Amanda Grove.

According to Grove, “Our students loved the neuronasium on the day of nutrition class! Keeping high school students engaged and awake first thing in the morning can be a challenge and there was a noticeable difference in the learning atmosphere compared to last year’s traditional seating.” Indeed, the students enjoyed completing classwork while engaging in purposeful movement. According to a RCHS junior named Richard, “This is a perfect room for kids who fidget.” He added, “I wish math class was like this.” Students can select from multiple movement workstations including wobble stools, pedal desks, glider desks, balance desks, standing desks, and swivel desks. In addition, balancing boards and an elliptical are available for additional movement opportunities.

The lab, which can accommodate over 30 students at a time, is open to all high school teachers and classes to use throughout the school year. According to C2BF Wellness Integration Specialist, Holly Jenkins, “We are very excited to bring this new classroom concept to Rappahannock County High School. It’s one of the first of its kind in a high school setting. Between the Brain STAR action based learning lab at the elementary school and now the neuronasium at the high school, RCPS students are experiencing the physical and cognitive benefits of increased physical activity in the classroom.” RCHS Principal Jimmy Swindler, enthusiastically supports the new classroom. “I am very excited about the possibilities that our new neuronasium offers our students and our teachers,” Swindler said. “Research shows that active minds learn better and our new setup in the neuronasium will allow us to turn research into reality. My biggest fear is that we will have a long waiting list of teachers who wish to use that room and as such I am already thinking of how we begin to plan for our next one!” Commit to Be Fit is a grant funded and sponsored by Rappahannock County Public Schools.

Through the generosity of the PATH Foundation, C2BF was created to help promote healthier lifestyles for students, staff, and community members. Commit to Be Fit is committed to creating a healthier culture in three key areas: cafeteria, classrooms, and community. For more information, visit www.rappc2bf.com.