Flexible Seating in Classrooms
Flexible seating arrangement in a classroom is a relatively new pattern followed by pre-schools and primary schools for providing a better learning experience. The parents and teachers are however still adjusting to this new concept. The mental shift can be a prolonged process at times. Flexible seating in classroom refers to the inclusion of wobble chairs scattered around the classroom along with activity materials here and there. This article will talk about the benefits of flexible seating classrooms and how to implement them.
Why do you need flexible seating?
To increase interactions
As a teacher, you would surely understand that for the kids to open, clear communication is the topmost priority. Through flexible seating arrangement, you will clearly find the difference in the way how kids interact. Regular seating means that kids have to follow a fixed seating pattern and it’s only a two way communication between the teacher and the students. Flexible seating arrangement helps the kids to interact with each other. It provides them with a choice on where to sit and which activities to perform. Rather than placing the entire kid stool together, arranging them in different places of the classroom provides flexibility to the kids to roam around in the classroom.
To accelerate engagement
Designing a classroom where there are board games, coloring books, swings and bookshelves provides the children with the scope to explore. The seating arrangement has a lot to do with how the students engage in day to day activities. The backbenchers have the tendency to not listen to teachers or simply feel bored about studying. Flexible seating actually makes them engage more in classroom activities.
To provide a comfortable environment
A different seating arrangement with placing kid chair here and there gives the students a choice. This will help develop their decision making skills. Adding to that, rather than normal classroom chairs, a wiggle seat or wobble chair provides much more comfort to the kid.
To keep the kids physically active
Sitting in the classroom for long hours and listening to what’s written in the book can get monotonous and make the kids bored or drowsy. A well-designed classroom with flexible seating arrangement helps the child become more physically active by taking part in the allocated activities.
To make learning ‘entertaining’
There is no hard and fast rule about how to teach kid’s math, science or any other subject as long as the kid is clear about the concept. The room arrangement will automatically make the students interact and communicate more, raise questions and have a better visual experience of the concepts.
To increase health benefits
Wobble stool is a common tool used in flexible classroom seating. With these chairs, it is easier for the kid to be in motion. This positively impacts the kids’ health due to motion at regular intervals.
How to make the arrangements
As mentioned before, the flexible seating arrangement is somewhat of a new concept and this will take time to make aware the relevant stakeholders about its benefits. Before implanting the new classroom structure, you need to talk about it to the parents, teachers or principal. You need to make them realize even if it requires a good budget, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. During parent-teacher meeting or teachers’ meeting, you need to discuss this and exchange views and opinions about the topic.
Inform the stakeholders
Next phase is to cater to the queries of the stakeholders (parents, teachers, janitors, principal to name a few). The common questions would be ‘what is the advantage of the change?’, ‘What will happen if the kids can’t adjust to the change?’, and ‘What would be the tentative budget for this?’ etc. Be sure to keep these answers ready while you are informing the stakeholders.
Train the children
It can be difficult for the children to adjust to the change in the beginning. Hence training them about particular details such as how they will choose their seats, how they can utilize their class time, who to talk to if they face problems with the change etc. is important.
Research on arrangement techniques
You can always take inspiration online about the various types of techniques. Decide on what type of wobble chairs or bean bags to use, where to set them and the overall theme of the classroom design. Browse through the kid chair options to get an idea about the budget and plan.
Create a budget
After completion of research, fix your budget based on the plan and place it to the relevant stakeholders. Once you are set on a budget, execute your plan based on that.
Start the process
After completion of the steps mentioned before, we would recommend that you wait till the holidays to make the changes. A month span is good enough to make the necessary changes.
Some fun arrangement ideas for you
Library themed classroom
Keep bookshelves arranged according to specific topics all over the classroom. Place some wobble chairs in front of the shelves to give the kids scope to read. Place the board or projector in between the classroom to provide greater visibility.
Living room themed
Create a décor setup with a big screen in between, place some bean bags here and there for the kids to sit. Add a common space for the kids to sit and discuss. Place wiggle seats based on the number of students in the classroom.
Play zone themed
This is our personal favorite theme. Keep the chairs anywhere and place the playing items in a scattered way. Items could include puzzles, scrabble games etc. This will help the kids move around and learn in a fun way.
Always keep in mind that the themes should be activity centric that encourages the kids to become more participative in the classroom. Take opinion of the parents and children as well to understand which design will suit better for the child’s needs. We believe flexible seating arrangement has a lot to offer for the learning process of children.