Flexible Seating Allows Room To Wiggle
Jan 12th, 2018 by Jane NobleHow many children do you know who like to sit still? Not many I should think. Children are bundles of energy who like to move around and flit from idea to idea and activity to activity. It is difficult for most children to remain seated for any length of time, so imagine how much more difficult it is for a child with ADHD?
Wiggle, Stretch, SprawlAs reported in the OC Register on October 15, 2017, a new seating style is spreading across Orange County schools that is giving children the freedom to wiggle, stretch, sprawl and lie on the floor, depending on their mood and the activity they are doing. This flexible seating takes the form of bouncy balls, low chairs, yoga mats, adjustable desks, floor cushions, beanbags and wobble-friendly stools. Teachers are reporting that this flexibility is having a positive impact on children’s ability to focus.
Educators are Seeing BenefitsTim Green, professor of elementary and bilingual education at Cal State Fullerton, said the popularity of flexible seating has surged in recent years owing to positive results for students and a fluid nature that complements the modern classroom. Physical education is being cut out in many elementary schools and children need to move. The classroom is no longer a rigid, teacher centered place as it once used to be. Many teachers are so keen on having flexible seating that they are initiating fundraising efforts themselves.
Helping Students with Attention Deficit DisordersWhen I taught gifted children in Vancouver, though very brilliant in a variety of subjects, many of them had difficulty focussing. We used to put elastic sports bands around the legs of the chairs so the children could bounce their legs of them to release energy. Laurel Elementary School in the Brea Olinda USD was fitted with flexible seating in all the classrooms last year. Heather Bojorquez, the Principal said giving students the freedom to sit how they want to has made a big difference for more fidgety students and those with attention deficit disorders.
Students who would normally lose focus fidgeting in a stiff desk can now wiggle on a wobbly stool, dangle their legs from an elevated chair or bounce on a ball, naturally working out their excess energy while staying focused on the work in front of them. Although classroom management may be a bit more challenging, many teachers are embracing the idea as they see improved work output and concentration.
What the Children ThinkGavin at Glenknoll Elementary in Yorba Linda says that being able to wiggle around has helped him in subjects he once struggled in. Matthias from Laurel Elementary loves the cube chair because it is squishy and bouncy!
I remember always being told to sit up straight when I was at school and sprawling on the desk was a definite no-no. But if work is being done and progress achieved, then it really doesn’t matter whether you are standing, sprawling, bouncing or sitting cross legged under a desk. With flexible seating, you will not hear a teacher asking children to sit up straight because there is no right way to sit.
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