The foundation of today’s hottest educational pedagogies – student-centered learning and individualized learning – is being built from the ground up. Giving children a say in how they sit, where they sit, and what they sit in or on is one way to do this. Flexible seating, often known as alternative seating, actively engages students in classroom design discussions. It enables students to identify the types of furniture, such as chairs, stools, rockers, and so on, that are most comfortable for them and stimulate them to learn. The process encourages student creativity and collaboration by allowing them to strive toward incremental improvement while remaining practical.
A flexible-seating classroom is far from a drab, identical row of chairs and tables. Rather, there are a variety of seating options strewn over the space. They come in a variety of shapes, heights, materials, and motions, as well as a few standard options. Students usually choose their location based on a rotating system. Classroom rules that are clearly posted aid in maintaining the peace. Active sitting is not the same as flexible seating. Flexible seating is about giving students choices; active seating is a sort of sitting that moves with their natural movements. Active sitting should undoubtedly be included among the furniture solutions for flexible seating!
The flexible-seating movement, according to many teachers, is promoting a growing number of physical, emotional, and intellectual benefits:
- Choice: Students feel more empowered when they have some control over their surroundings. Students can pick where they work and with whom they work thanks to flexible seating. It also allows them to move around and change postures as needed.
- Physical Health: Children must be active. They can wobble, rock, bounce, lean, or stand in flexible seating, increasing oxygen supply to the brain, blood flow, and core strength. As a result, you’ll burn more calories and your metabolism will speed up. It also aids in the alertness and focus of young minds. Physical activity is clearly connected to increased academic performance, better health, and better conduct. Simple in-class exercises have been found to improve performance, according to studies. According to studies, students who engage in short bursts of physical activity in the classroom have better on-task behaviour.
- Community: 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 locations and with different seating options.
- Collaboration: Students can simply work in pairs or groups. They may quickly and easily pair up, work in small groups, or discuss as a full class thanks to flexible seating, which eliminates the need to move mountains of heavy desks to make eye contact.
- Movement: Students can sit, kneel, wiggle, lean, roll, and other activities to release extra energy while strengthening their core.
- Comfort: A distracted and unproductive learner is one who is uncomfortable. Consider a student who didn’t have breakfast or didn’t have access to it. The sound of his or her growling stomach will make it impossible to hear the teacher’s speech as the countdown to lunch approaches. The similar effect can be achieved by sitting in an uncomfortable chair.Students with flexible seating are more likely to stay calm, focused, and productive. Students that are at ease are more relaxed and concentrated.
- Input from the senses: 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.
- Motivation: Students are motivated to acquire and maintain their preferred locations.
Having said all that, flexible seating options aren’t for everyone, especially when it comes to teachers. Some teachers adore them, while others aren’t quite ready to go with their traditional chairs and desks. If you want to give it a shot, these are some of the greatest options currently available:
The Balance Ball is a flexible seat for high-energy and energetic kids, with five soft stabilizing legs that keep the ball in position while not in use. These allow children to learn, adapt, and practice good posture while also strengthening their core muscles through active sitting and play in the classroom. It also helps to provide the kids an outlet for their surplus energy and to prevent fidgeting. In a nutshell, it’s a fun and active way to get the “wiggles out.”
This all-in-one design provides a surface for your laptop or notebook as well as a seat wherever you need it, making it ideal for collaborative settings. The portable desk eliminates the need for a fixed table, allowing students to work comfortably on the lawn, in the park, in their classroom chair, or on the floor.
The Surf is available in a variety of elegant hues to complement any style. Create a vibrant school setting or keep it monochrome, clean, and modern by sticking to one hue.
For simple travel to your location, these seats feature a lightweight and portable design with an adjustable shoulder strap. As the name implies, this is perfect for outdoor class sessions and other activities that require sitting, such as class picnics and other outside activities. As a bleacher seat, it has a comfortable foam-cushioned polyester seat and a robust steel frame. To avoid discoloration, the underside of the seat cushion is painted black. For added comfort, the bleacher seat has six reclining settings that may be adjusted.
This set includes six lightweight, bright, fun-shaped seats that are the perfect size for children aged 2 to 5. In daycares, preschools, classrooms, and homes, these modular seats may be combined in a variety of ways to create a personalized seating environment for group activities. The non-slip bottom makes it easy to determine which side is on the floor and prevents slipping and sliding. Each seat is 14.5 inches long, 10 inches wide, and high, but only weighs 1 pound, which means kids can move it around effortlessly.
Instead of the traditional design, the Paddle Out Bean Bag has a large cushion with a tall back that supports the children while they sit. To fit your classroom space, you can pick your favorite form and style. It’s also a good fit for youngsters, teens, and adults, so perhaps teachers can benefit from flexible seating as well! The Cali Paddle Bean Bag is shipped completely assembled and ready to use.
This version of the wobble chair is for ages 4 to 7. There is also a model available more suited for pre-teens, which is also sold by Studio on Amazon. Comes in six color options: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, Purple, and Red. This chair allows high-energy children to let their wiggles out while remaining seated, allowing them to complete their activities and studies. This is probably the best approach to assist ADD and ADHD children sit for lengthy periods of time.
If you don’t want to spend the money on wobble stools, use wobble cushions. They’re inexpensive and can be used on the floor or with standard office chairs. They’ll be a hit with the kids. Most teachers inflate them at various levels to see what works best—your fidgetiest students will prefer it completely inflated. These pillows have two sides: a poky side and a comfier side. Those who require sensory stimulation will enjoy the poky.
Who could say no to sitting on one of these? The accordion-style base compresses slightly to provide minor forward, backward, and side-to-side movements. It provides just enough movement for kids while also providing greater stability than yoga balls or wobble seats. Teachers report that students using KidsErgo classroom seating often improve significantly in posture, concentration, participation, and behavior. They are available in a variety of sizes to accommodate pupils of all ages.
These pillows will be familiar to every child who has attended a library storytime. They’re well-liked for a reason. A four-pack is cost-effective, and they’re built to last. These cushions are little, therefore they’re excellent for Pre-Kindergarteners. Comes in a pack of six in six different colors: red, blue, yellow, purple, orange, and green. You can use these inside the classroom as well as outside, as it is remarkably easy to clean by just wiping them down with warm soapy water.
Scoop rockers are a favorite among teachers. When you put these on the floor, kids can rock and recline while working alone or in a group. When purchased in a set of six, this is one of the most cost-effective flexible seating alternatives. Two different colors will give your kiddos the freedom they love when it comes to choosing how to be uniquely them. The kids’ chairs are lightweight and easy to pick up with a carrying handle when your young tribe conveniently forgets to pick up after themselves.