Flexible Seating (by Mrs. Brink)
Where can you find lawn chairs, inflatable ottomans, vinyl couches, standing desks, yoga balls, wobble stools, coffee tables, floor rugs, round tables, and traditional desks, all in one place? Look no further than some of our classrooms and shared learning spaces here at St. Paul’s! There are several special places on our campus, including our very own Panther Learning Commons, that feature flexible seating furniture for student learning.
The students in our learning spaces furnished with flexible seating options effectively practice communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking in new and different ways. For teachers, integrating flexible seating into a learning space for students requires setting clear boundaries and expectations, while also necessitating the willingness to take risks and learn from mistakes. For students, flexible seating increases engagement, performance, and motivation. 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 many “front row” seats with optimal views.
As our successes with flexible seating continue to grow on our campus, we look forward to allowing more students to benefit from the magic of this learning experience!