It is almost time for lunch, and Elizabeth Rivera’s third-grade class begins to line up to head to the cafeteria. As Ms. Rivera directs the cleanup and line up, Kierra Morales gets up from her single desk with a decision. “Excuse me, Ms. Rivera,” Kierra says. “I don’t think sitting at this single desk is really working for me. After lunch, I am going to sit in a swing chair. Is that ok?” With a smile, Ms. Rivera says, “Of course that’s ok, Kierra. You are taking responsibility for your own learning, and you know what is best for you as a student.”
Over the last three years, the Hyde elementary school in partnership with the D & P Bayly Family Foundation has re-imagined classrooms to include flexible seating for our first through third graders. In flexible seating classrooms, traditional seating charts are replaced with arrangements that allow students to have a choice in how they learn. Students have the choice to sit in traditional chairs and desks or on bouncy ball chairs, pillows, accordion stools, swivel chairs, or at lap desks, or whiteboard tables. Flexible seating is not only more comfortable but fosters choice, collaboration, and creativity. Our classrooms empower the youngest students to explore how they learn best and how they can be advocates in their own learning.
“Our classrooms are set up to be comfortable and give the students a choice for how they can best engage in learning,” said Latea O’Kane, ES Academic Dean.
Like Ms. Rivera, first-grade teachers Roxanne Clark and Jerilynn Primero have seen several positive changes in their classroom since the flexible furniture was introduced. They feel their students appreciate the opportunity to have choice in where they sit, as the furniture helps them understand what kind of learners they are.