If you were to walk through my classroom door you could find a room filled with 8-9-year-old faces that mirrors countries from around the world. My students' families come from India, Syria, Burma, South Korea, Japan, Somalia, Mexico, and many other countries from around the globe. Some have immigrated and others have come to our area to seek refuge.
My students speak different home languages, represent different cultures, and made their way to the International Community School through different paths, but all students have in common a sense of open-mindedness and community.
While we have our differences, we all have a love for learning. I agree with Dr. Asa Hilliard when he said, “I have never encountered any children in any group who are not geniuses. There is no mystery on how to teach them. The first thing you do is treat them like human beings and the second thing you do is love them.” My students are loved by myself and our community. Each day they are given opportunities to learn in a loving, supportive, and exciting environment.
Flexible seating produces effective and productive students. These options will benefit my students by providing choice, physical health, comfort, community, collaboration, and sensory input.
Students feel empowered by having some degree of choice and control over their environment.
Flexible seating allows students to choose where they work and sometimes with whom they will work. Children need to move. Flexible seating allows them to wobble, rock, bounce, lean, or stand, which increases oxygen flow to the brain, blood flow, and core strength. In turn, this burns more calories and increases metabolism. It also helps keep young minds more alert and focused.
An uncomfortable student becomes distracted and unproductive. Flexible seating encourages students to find their best spot to stay calm, focused and productive. Traditional desks can make students territorial or possessive over their space and supplies. Flexible seating encourages students to share and allows them to thrive. Flexible seating also allows students to quickly and easily pair up, work in small groups or discuss as a whole class – without moving heavy desks to establish eye contact.
Many flexible seating options stimulate students’ sense of touch. This type of stimulation can help children focus and process information. Sensory input is especially helpful for students with ADHD, ADD, and ASD.
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