A revolutionary new tool is helping students pay attention and burn off excess energy at Strawberry Vale elementary school in Victoria.
Four yellow, youth-sized stationary bikes installed in classrooms six weeks ago have been a runaway success with 300 kindergarten to Grade 5 students at the small school, according to staff.
Emma Marley, a teacher and vice principal at Strawberry Vale, told On the Island host Gregor Craigie the bikes have been "a game changer".
"I have 10 students that use it every single day without fail. And the rest that are using it every other day," she said. In her class of 25 Grade 4 and 5 children, only a couple were not interested in using the bikes.
Marley noticed immediate improvements in student behaviour.
"A lot of children today, they just need to be able to burn off energy and so it just allows them to have that opportunity inside of a classroom," she said.
Some students settle in and spread out schoolwork over the handlebars while others go for short, intense bursts of pedalling.
Students 'hyped up' when bikes removed
The four existing bikes rotate between different classrooms and students sign up to use them.
When the bike in Marley's class was moved to another room, she immediately noticed increased energy levels and students wanting to leave the classroom for breaks and walks to the water fountain.
"They were way more hyped up," she said. "Once they knew they could go to somebody else's classroom and use the bikes if they needed to, they started to calm down again and they're now doing that."
More bikes on the way
"We have kids from all over the building trying to find the bikes," Marley said.
The school's parent advisory council paid $7,000 to purchase 10 more stationary bikes which are due for delivery next week.
The vice principal uses the bikes after class herself . "If I've had a stressful day, I'll go sit on it for five minutes, and it changes everything," Marley said.
With files from CBC Radio On the Island.