Flexible seating catches on in First State schools
An alternative approach to traditional classroom design known as flexible seating is catching on in some Delaware schools, including New Castle Elementary.
Students in Victoria Pala’s 5th grade class are listening to a Kid President video about how to disagree respectively.
They’ll be writing letters to President elect Trump expressing their opinions, but first they’re talking in groups – and sitting on the floor, on chairs and couches or stability balls.
“The stability balls at a table help them get their wiggles and stuff out while still engaging in the curriculum," Pala said.
Pala noticed many kids with special needs were having a hard time paying attention to lessons, so she began researching alternative classroom seating arrangements over spring break last year, and she stumbled upon a concept called flexible seating.
"So I thought to myself, if I’m going to do it I’m just going to do it all the way," Pala said.
She removed all of the students’ traditional desks – and over the summer transformed her classroom into what looks like a big cozy living room.
“I was super nervous all summer about like, is this going to work, I’ve just completely transformed my classroom," she said. "You know, are the kids going to be receptive to it, are their scores going to go up, am I still going to have the same problems.”
She said the kids immediately took to the new arrangement – and so have parents. She said parent engagement has increased since the transformation.
And with research now linking classroom activity to increased learning and performance – other teachers are starting to consider similar classroom designs, too.