Flexible seating works for the youngest learners, too
- Writing for Edutopia, first and second grade teacher John S. Thomas says students at the lowest grades can be taught to recognize their optimal work environment via flexible seating arrangements.
- Creating "work nooks" around his classroom, he arranged spaces where students could work while standing, laying on the floor, or sitting on T-stools, cushions or a variety of other furniture options.
- He notes that such a transition to more freedom requires adequate planning around offering a variety of workspaces, setting clear guidelines and expectations for behavior and where students can work, and identifying consequences for not following those guidelines — as well as a consideration of necessities like comfort and flat, stable surfaces for writing and electronics.
Recent years have seen a rethinking of classroom design as educators look to provide students with a more personalized education experience, breaking away from the one-size-fits-all approach of a teacher speaking at students seated uniformly in rows of desks. Open classroom designs, for example, seek to more closely mimic many modern collaborative work environments, and a number of studies have shown benefits for students using flexible seating options like standing desks. Data cited in an infographic from Ed Tech: Focus on K-12 suggests that less time sitting can lower insulin levels 15% and boost neurocognitive function from 7% to 14% over time.
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