Flexible Seating’s Place in the 21st Century Classroom
The foundation of today’s hottest pedagogies in education – student-centered learning and personalized learning – begins from the bottom up. That means giving students a say in how they sit, where they sit, and what they sit in or on.
Also known as alternative seating, flexible seating actively brings students into the classroom-design discussion. It lets them identify the kinds of furniture, such as chairs, stools, rockers, etc., that 1.) they find most comfortable, and 2.) gets them motivated to learn. The process promotes student creativity and collaboration, letting students work toward gradual change within practical constraints.
Flexible Seating or Traditional Seating? Both.
A flexible-seating classroom is anything but a dull, uniform row of identical chairs and desks. Rather, there are various types of seating spread throughout the room. They vary in shape, height, material and motion, and will include a few traditional choices, as well. Typically, students decide their spot on a rotation basis. Clearly posted classroom rules help keep the harmony.
(FYI: Flexible seating is different than active seating. Flexible seating is about providing options; active seating is a specific type of seating designed to move with a student’s natural movement. Active seating should certainly be included among flexible-seating furniture options!)
The List of Flex Benefits Grows.
According to teachers, the flexible-seating movement is fostering a growing list of physical, emotional and academic benefits:
- • Choice. Students learn best when they have some control over their environment.
- • Community. Students learn to take turns and share supplies.
- • Collaboration. Students can easily pair up or work in groups.
- • Movement. Students can sit, kneel, wiggle, lean, roll, etc., and release excess energy, while building core strength.
- • Comfort. Comfortable students are more relaxed and more focused.
- • Sensory Input. Many flexible seating options stimulate students’ sense of touch.
- • Motivation. Students are motivated to earn and keep their favorite spots.
Smith System Offers Plethora of Flexible-Seating Options.
Filling a classroom with mismatched, adult-sized, odds-and-ends seating is not an ideal flexible-seating classroom, nor does it promote good posture. Smith System provides many safe, durable, properly sized options:
- • 24” standard stools for café-style seating
- • Oodle stools that can be stationary or have controlled wobble
- • Flavors multi-directional chairs and Flavors mobile chairs with castors
- • Noodle chairs with a flexible seat pan
- • Traditional chairs with desks
Keeping it Calm and Uncluttered.
Naturally, educators, administrators and parents wonder about the potential visual circus created by classrooms of “misfit furniture.” Smith System gets it. We help bring cohesive calm by using modern seating design, and we can match seat trim colors and materials. We also offer a variety of multi-purpose storage options for a perfectly organized and calmer 21st Century Classroom.