I am a Special Education teacher in a third grade ASD Nest Class. The ASD Nest Program is a NYC Department of Education inclusion program for students with ASD in community schools. My class is one of the most comprehensive inclusion programs I have seen focusing on promoting strengths of individuals on the autism spectrum--as well as everyone else!
My co-teacher and I believe flexible seating has become all the rage in elementary school classrooms.
Rather than confining kids to traditional tables and chairs, we would like to provide students with lots of different seating options so that they can take control of their learning and find a classroom work space that feels best to them.
This year, we started the school year with several students who struggled to sit at their desks, let alone do desk work and participate in classroom activities. As my co-teacher and I began to brainstorm we realized we needed help and we lack the seating options that our students require.
Students feel empowered by having some degree of choice and control over 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, 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.
Our classroom environments should be conducive to open collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. This simply cannot be done when kids are sitting in rows of desks all day. Flexible seating allows students to quickly and easily pair up, work in small groups, or discuss as a whole class – without moving mountains of heavy desks to establish eye contact.
Keeping a classroom neat can be an ongoing struggle for teachers, especially once traditional desks (and their storage) go away. That is why we are asking for these Flex-Space Mobile Storage Centers. This will give students a central location to store supplies—that we can roll anywhere!
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