- In the latest demonstration of redesigning spaces for learning, two 2nd-grade classrooms at a Michigan elementary school have removed desks all together and are giving students the option of sitting on the floor, at tables or in large, overstuffed chairs, WLUC reports.
- The new arrangement has improved the classroom environment because the students are more likely to get their favorite place to sit if they show good behavior, says Emily Maxson, a 2nd grade teacher at C.J. Sullivan Elementary in the L’Anse Area Schools.
- Other classrooms at the school are also considering the change, according to the report.
Early-childhood education experts often talk about how integrating more preschool and kindergarten practices into the early grades would benefit students by teaching them to take more responsibility for their learning and behavior. Providing students with more choice is one of those practices, and the growing numbers of schools that are allowing various seating options are showing how this can be done.
Other schools are beginning to give students more time for play in response to research on the cognitive, mental, social-emotional and other benefits of less-structured fun. Early learning experts stress, however, that school administrators need more training on how to recognize how pre-K and primary grade classrooms might appear different from those in the upper elementary grades. A 2017 article for the National Association for the Education of Young Children featured examples of how some states are incorporating more knowledge of early learning into administrator preparation and professional development programs.