Help me give my students flexible seating which allows students to find comfortable positions throughout the classroom. Comfortable students are calm, focused, and productive. Students learn better when they have a chance to work together.
Our students are from the inner city, from a neighborhood of varying socio-economic status. They come from many diverse cultures, which we try to embrace and bring into the classroom whenever possible. Our children are energetic five-year-olds, so keeping them engaged and moving is a must. We try to embrace their playfulness and energy whenever possible. We are a collaborative community, in which we try to increase rigor and discourse within each of our classrooms. The sense of community can be seen throughout our halls and within the many school-wide activities organized by school staff and PTA. We strive to streamline curricula across the grade, as well as create transparency of our pedagogy.
Students feel empowered by having a choice and control within their environment. Flexible seating allows students to choose where they work and with whom. It also allows them to change their location and positions as needed.
Children need to move, flexible seating allows them to wobble, rock, bounce, lean, or stand.
This 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.
It’s no surprise that physical activity is linked to higher academic performance, better health, and improved behavior. An academic paper by Matthew T. Mahar, et al, found that simple in-class activities could boost performance. Studies suggest that children who participate in short bouts of physical activity within the classroom have more on-task behavior, too.
An uncomfortable student is a distracted and unproductive student. For example, picture a student who skipped or didn’t have access to breakfast. As the countdown to lunch approaches, the sound of his or her growling stomach will make it impossibly hard to hear the teacher’s voice. An uncomfortable chair can have the same effect.
Flexible seating encourages students to find their best spot to stay calm, focused, and productive. As one teacher said, “There is no better way to show your support for a student-centered classroom, than creating a classroom from a child’s point of view.” In her opinion, comfortable students are engaged students.
Traditional desks can make students territorial or possessive over their space and supplies. Flexible seating encourages students to share both. And, it encourages them to take turns in different areas of the classroom.
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