Flexible Seating (by Mrs. Brink)
Where can you find lawn chairs, ottomans, vinyl couches, standing desks, yoga balls, stools, coffee tables, floor rugs, wobble stools, and traditional desks, all in one place? Look no further than some of our very classrooms here at St. Paul’s! Several teachers on our campus have spent the last year experimenting with and collecting various forms of flexible seating in their classrooms. From garage sales, thrift shops, furniture store clearance sections, and hand-me-downs from neighbors, teachers have scoured local resources to furnish classrooms with different seating options to accommodate the diverse learning needs of our students.
Throughout this process, we have taken risks and seen many successes. With a year of flexible seating experience under our belts, as a school, we have seen increased student engagement, performance, and motivation. The students in our classrooms furnished with flexible seating options effectively practiced 21st century skills everyday - communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. We firmly believe that students in our classroom who have the opportunity to sit in an environment where they learn best are able to work towards our school-wide learner outcomes (DISCIPLESHIP, CHARACTER, and ENGAGEMENT) on a daily basis. Students are able to collaborate in various settings, engage with one another across the curriculum, and exemplify Christian character and discipleship in partnership with one another as they think critically and grow.
Research shows that flexible seating encourages comfort and engagement and therefore, maximizes learning. Flexible seating fosters collaboration and communication, facilitating teamwork, not just “group work.” Peer communication becomes more natural when students are not sitting in traditional desks and the open floor plan of the room encourages teacher-student communication. A classroom with flexible seating helps students build problem-solving skills. Students are able to choose a learning space to suit their personal learning style, and they become self-directed learners. Flexible seating creates a responsive classroom that emphasizes social and academic growth in a community and creates may “front row” seats with optimal view.
As our successes with flexible seating continue to grow, we are pleased to announce that our middle school ELA department has recently received $1,000 in grant money to spend on additional flexible seating options to continue furnishing and enhancing classrooms with even more seating options! We look forward to furthering our flexible seating journey and allowing more students to benefit from the magic of this learning experience!