September 28, 2016 — The GF Nation Fund, Inc. consistently supports Glens Falls students at every level—and this fall, that can be taken quite literally.
Stability balls now replace half of the chairs in Pam Laurent's third-grade classroom at Kensington Elementary. Hers was one of several grant requests the GF Nation Fund fulfilled in its spring 2016 grant cycle, along with management/sensory support tools at Jackson Heights, and assisting in a full-year “Yoga in School” program, also at Jackson Heights.
"I was privileged to receive $300 from the GF Nation Fund, which got me 10 yoga/stability balls to replace about half of the hard, plastic chairs in my classroom," says Mrs. Laurent. "Research shows that when a student sits on a yoga ball instead of a hard seat, their minds are more engaged in the learning, attention-challenged students tend to focus better on the learning, and they force children to sit up straight and engage in better posture than they might ordinarily."
Mrs. Laurent's plan calls for these initial 10 stability balls to be shared equally among her students throughout the day. "With this starter set I will be able to collect my own data, determining if the use of the ball is in fact as beneficial as indicated in research done by www.livestrong.com and mindfulness groups," she noted.
After winning the grant, she consulted with her PT professional, Danielle Ryerson, to make the best fit choice for her group of kids. "I have 19 students (10 boys and 9 girls), so the girls use them on odd days and the boys use them on evens," Mrs. Laurent explains. "We talked about yoga ball seating protocol on the first day of school, and I model good behaviors on a daily basis. I make safety sitting reminders daily (feet on the floor, holding your body weight from your abdomen, etc.), but the kids love the flexible seating option."
Through community-based fundraising, the GF Nation Fund, Inc. helps pay for educational supports that are outside of the normal school budget. Past grants include Lego Mindstorm robotics kits for each elementary school in the district, and Canon Rebel digital SLR cameras used by high school art students for visual research on field trips.
"Thank you to all our supporters and please don’t forget to visit our website at www.gfnationfund.org to learn more about our exciting organization," says GF Nation Fund board member Terri Surprenant.