From allowing students to make their own choices to bringing more active movement into each day, there are a lot of good reasons to add flexible seating to your classroom. Although this education trend is a relatively new one, there are already a myriad of options to choose from in this category. So where do you start? Take our quick tips for how to introduce flex seating to your students.
Determine the Needs of Your Students
Consider the number of students you have and their individual needs. Will you be replacing old furniture or simply adding to it? Although some kids thrive in fully flexible classrooms, others may require a more structured setup. Many teachers prefer hybrid classrooms with both traditional desks and flexible options for this reason.
Not only will you need to think about the learning needs of individual students, but you’ll need to consider different lesson plans as well. Do you want students to sit or stand during group exercises? Do you want them to utilize alternative seating options only during individual reading time? Only during group lessons? Every classroom is truly unique, and it’s up to you as the teacher to decide what setup is going to work best for your kids.
Visualize and Measure Your Classroom
Take a close look at your teaching style and consider where in your classroom you want your flex seating to go. What areas of the room are underutilized? What can you rearrange to accommodate new furniture? Once you’ve determined where in your classroom you want your various alternative seating options to go, measure the space. This will allow you to better determine what chairs and tables will be able to fit in the area when purchasing classroom furniture online.
Introduce the Options to Your Students and their Parents
Whether you go with exercise balls, wobble stools, couches, swivel chairs or another type of active seating option, you’ll need to come up with a game plan for introducing them to students and their parents. Your kids are going to be very excited when they first see the flex seating options in your classroom, so it’s important to set boundaries and model them right from the start. The first week or two may be a challenge but remain firm and consistent and your students will reap the benefits soon enough.
Although introducing flex seating to your students is important, it’s just as crucial to explain your choices to their parents. Because most parents did not have flexible seating when they were in school, they are likely to be unfamiliar with the benefits of alternative seating. This is why it’s important for you as the teacher to educate parents so that they understand why flex seating will help their children learn.
Make Plans for Substitute Teachers
One of the biggest concerns that teachers with flex seating classrooms have is introducing the rules to substitutes. If you have a hybrid classroom with both traditional desks and alternative seating options, then you may find it easier to simply keep students in their traditional chairs during sub days. But if you only have flex seating in your room, it’s best to write out instructions for your substitute that are as detailed as possible to avoid any confusion or students taking advantage.
Remember that this is a major shift in your classroom setup and that there is likely to be a steep transition period as you and your students get used to a new way of doing things. By preparing yourself for this transition and establishing clear expectations from the beginning, you’ll set yourself and your students up for success from the very start.