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Sitting on a Good Idea: What is Flexible Seating?

flexible seating classroom-Innovation Academy Las Vegas Montessori

Flexible Seating Classroom | Las Vegas Montessori

At Innovation Academy Las Vegas, Montessori principles guide everything we do. We believe in fostering a blend of independence and collaboration through self-directed study. That belief extends all the way to include something as seemingly mundane as seating arrangements!

After all, Montessori students’ academic progress is based on their own choices and motivations. So why wouldn’t that student-driven approach extend to their unique location in their learning environment?

Finding a Place of One’s Own

Traditional classroom seating is all about rigidity. In other words: hard chairs and surfaces arranged in rows with assigned places. This forces a single, unchanging perspective on each child. But, as every teacher knows, no two days are the same. One student can be perfectly attentive one day, but squirrely the next. Late-spring days can be distracting in a way early-winter days are not for students seated near windows. Indoor temperature, talkative neighbors, the angle of light sources—each element shapes a classroom. Factors change month to month, day to day, and even moment to moment.

Learn about other ways IA is raising the bar by changing up the classroom model…

Flexible seating takes all of that—and more—into account. For example, students enjoy the freedom allowed by more diverse furniture options. They can position themselves within their learning environment. The choices are personal and allow them to feel comfortable where they are: physically and emotionally. Flexible seating is also empowering on a fundamental level, since it puts a choice in each student’s hands at the start of each day.

Every child gets to determine her or his own neighbors, negotiating available seats with others. Depending on the interactions, this can teach the values of compromise, self-knowledge and regulation, foresight, and more.

Many of the skills students use in determining where to sit in a flexible seating situation are higher order. For instance, certain situations may require conflict resolution. Communication is certainly key. Patience is a must. All of these virtues work together to help build a thriving community in the classroom. Children who trust each other and work well together will create an environment where learning flourishes.

Taking a Stand on Sitting Down

Long periods of physical inactivity have been linked to health problems in adults. Flexible seating is a more dynamic approach than taken by traditional classrooms. That is to say, uninterrupted hours of sedentary activity are often the norm.

A flexible seating strategy, conversely, encourages motion throughout the classroom. For example, students are free to stretch, change positions, and walk around as necessary and appropriate. Furthermore, the seating options themselves often allow for far more motion—wiggling, rocking, etc.—than standard chairs.

Removing uncomfortable chairs also removes a potential barrier to a student’s full focus.

All of these benefits, and more, have been shown to encourage collaboration and boost engagement. Subsequently, they can improve retention and application of information.

The IA Las Vegas Montessori Approach

To sum up, flexible seating is good for the body and the mind. The big question should not be “What is it?” Instead, it should be “Why don’t more schools use it?”

CONTACT US to see how we implement flexible seating at Innovation Academy Las Vegas.

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Flexible Seating Classroom | Las Vegas Montessori