Flexible Seating in the Classroom
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Children today are required at a very young age to sit still, focus, and learn for five to six hours a day 5 days a week. Besides P.E. one to two times a week and daily recess for about 20 minutes for most schools, most of the day is sitting. If you’re at a charter school in an office complex, like many in California, you might not have outdoor space for P.E. or recess. California also has Transitional Kindergarten so we have kids starting school at 4, and if AB197 passes, California would require all kindergartens to be full day by 2021. Kids need to move, and if they don't have an outlet like a big grassy field to run on or a jungle gym to play on, they're going to fidget in the classroom and have trouble focusing. If there is a playground, is a 20 minute recess enough out of 5 hours to get their wiggles out?
Additionally, more and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD. Do they ALL really have ADHD or are they just kids that need to MOVE? Some of it is definitely real, and with ADHD(1 in 10), the increasing prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (1 in 59 children and 1 in 37 boys), and Sensory Processing Disorder, we need to figure out how to help these kids in the classroom. Some of these children need to keep moving in order to calm down and focus. What do we do?
Part of the answer is FLEXIBLE SEATING. Flexible seating can stimulate senses and help children focus and process information better. Check out 6 benefits of flexible seating here.
Below are 15 Flexible Seating options worth looking into for your classroom. Click on images for more info.
1. Inflatable Wobble Cushion
For the kids who fidget in their seats
2. Scoop Rocker
For the kids who need to rock
3. Chair Bands
For the kids who move their feet
4. Wobble Stool
For the kids who need to sway
5. Balance Ball Chair
For the kids who need to bounce
6. Vidget 3-in-1
For the kids who like choice
7. Bean Bag Chair
For the kids who like the feel of beads
8. Portable Lap Desk
For the kids who need the floor
9. Foot Rocker
For the kids who need to rock
10. Floor Discs
For the kids who need a soft bottom
11. Swivel Ball Chair
For the kids who need to spin
12. Standing Desk
For the kids who need to stand
13. Bicycle Desk
For the kids who need to move
14. Floor Chair
For the kids who want the floor
15. Floor Table
Can't picture what a flexible seating classroom looks like? Here are some fun images for inspiration. Don't have enough funds to purchase flexible seating? Go to Donors Choose and create a project. Ask your school community to help with donations.
Besides adding flexible seating, some other things to incorporate are:
*Outdoor classroom time
*Go Noodle Indoor Recess
*Lying on the floor for a lesson
*Walk around the school campus
*5 minute dance party breaks
You don't have to turn your entire classroom into flex space all at once. You can start out slow. Try a couple things and see how your kids take to it. You may find it helps and then you can add more little by little.
About the Author: Cherylyn Pasetto is an education consultant in San Diego County. She currently specializes in north county schools and spreads awareness of school options to parents. She believes in all types of education options and enjoys helping families find the right fit for each of their children.
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