I know, I know, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of flexible seating in their classroom. And, yes, I too have jumped on board! I’ve been doing it for two years now. Now that I am almost done with my second year using it in Kindergarten, I feel like I can share with you, how it has worked for me so far.
Last year I began the year off with Flexible Seating. When my kinder’s came in the door for their orientation with their parents they were able to choose where they wanted to sit. Most of them went right for the floor table. There parents, they went for the table with the regular chairs.
I explained to the parents how our classroom was designed for the 21st Century. That students would be given rules, and be able to choose where they sat each day as long as they followed the rules. Most of the students did really well. I had name tags, and as they came in first thing in the morning, they would pick up their name tag and place it on the seat they wanted for the day. This also helped me with attendance. I could see with a glance who was present and who was absent.
Students found which seating type they liked, and which worked best for them, and they pretty much stayed in their same seats all year.
The first few weeks of school I had students try a different form of seating each week so that the students would know which they worked best for them. I think in the entire year I only moved students less than 5 times due to talking or lack of focus.
Starting this year, I redesigned my classroom, and put the flexible seating into centers.
I also added a bistro table. The room was looking adorable. Pintrest, Instagram worthy. In an ideal classroom this was perfect. Sadly, I don’t have an ideal classroom this year. My little ones are struggling with flexible seating. I have tried for months, going over the rules, moving students, but it was just not working. I have slowly been taking pieces out of the classroom. The bistro table has gone home, the floor table has been taken out of the writing center. Crate chairs, scope chairs, and cushions have all gone home. It has been hard for me. But what I have learned is, that not every class will or can work with flexible seating. As much as I love it, and will again set my room up with it next year, this little group was just not ready.
Every year, every class, and every student is different. As teachers we know this, and with this knowledge we need to do what we feel is best for our students. Even though 90% of my students could not handle the flexible seating this year, they may next year in first grade, or the year after in second grade. Every year is a year to grow, learn, and change.
I have already begun planning my classroom layout for next year!! Happy experimenting with flexible seating!!