Beyond the Basic Desk: Flexible Seating in the Classroom
Compare your classroom to others in your school, and you’re likely to see a variety of desk options. Not every classroom is filled with row after row of desks and chairs. Instead, teachers are embracing the benefits of moving beyond traditional student desks by offering flexible seating in the classroom.
Seating options not only bring variety but may also help both neurotypical and neurodiverse students stay focused in class. At the very least, fun classroom seating arrangements will spruce up your learning environment and keep students engaged.
The Advantages of Using Flexible Seating in the Classroom
Research has long supported the correlation between physical activity and improved academic performance, health, and behavior. Changing positions often and allowing opportunities for movement throughout the day can contribute to better classroom behavior.
5 Ideas for Flexible Seating in the Classroom
Investing in flexible seating can be daunting, but there are plenty of affordable options that can make a big difference in your classroom aesthetic and students’ experience. Check out our five favorite flexible seating options for the modern classroom.
1. Standing Desks
You’ll see this trend in offices across the country, and it’s trickling down to classrooms, too. Standing desks not only offer the health benefit of taking a break from sitting but may also improve collaboration in your classroom. Clusters of standing desks provide ample opportunities for conversation and discussion.
Students love having options and giving your class the choice of standing or sitting can help your students feel like they have ownership of their learning space. If you’re not ready to invest in a whole classroom of standing desks, start with one or two that students can opt to use as a reward for good behavior.
2. Wobble Chairs and Stools
Part chair, part core muscle workout, these alternatives to a traditional desk chair bring a bit of wiggle to your room. Active seating options like wobble chairs and stools can help build core strength, improve posture, and help with focus, making them a favorite of special educators as well.
These flexible seating options come at all sorts of price points, from stationary stools that can be purchased in bulk to mobile wobble chairs that can be adjusted for each student’s needs.
3. Disc Cushions
For a quick and relatively inexpensive option, consider offering seat cushions as flexible seating in the classroom. Some come with a textured surface on one side and a smooth surface on the other. These are especially great for students with sensory processing disorders to select the option that works best for them.
Cushions are inflated with air and let students wiggle or rock slightly in their regular school chairs. They’re a good option for students who struggle to stay focused in a traditional chair but don’t want to stand out for needing alternative seating.
4. Bouncy Bands
This under-desk accessory lets children stretch their legs and move throughout the day without getting up or distracting others. And, a research study from Clemson University showed the bands have a positive effect on students who are typically less engaged in classroom activities.
Bouncy bands are an affordable way to offer flexible seating in the classroom without breaking the bank or completely reorganizing your classroom.
5. Scoop Rockers
An inexpensive option for adding fun classroom seating, these rockers can be used in a reading nook, around a table of iPads, or any way you can dream up. They offer students the option of sitting still (while still engaging their core) or rocking to help them focus while reading, listening, or using a tablet.
The best part? They fit together perfectly for storage, so you can store them easily in even the most cramped classroom spaces!
6. Yoga Balls
Also called exercise balls or stability balls, these seating alternatives allow kids to roll, wiggle, and bounce while completing work at their desks. They also allow the ability to alternate between moving and sitting still easily for use during writing and drawing activities.
By using yoga balls as flexible seating in the classroom, you can incorporate physical activity into your lessons easily and help your students deal with excess energy in a fun and productive way.