Flexible Seating Implementation Enhances Student Engagement

flex thumbnail168701

Bringing meaningful student choice and enhanced engagement, flexible seating implementation took root across Deer Park earlier this school year, in classrooms and other learning spaces at each of the district’s buildings.

“Our teachers have found that when students have a choice of where to sit or what to sit on, they are more engaged in the lessons,” said JFK Principal Kelly Benson. “Flexible seating works great for students that have trouble sitting still as some of the options permit movement. It allows them to get their extra energy out and focus on the lesson being taught. Students love to have choice. They also know there are expectations when choosing a seat. Our students rise to those expectations in order to maintain the options of where to sit. When flexible seating is implemented well, it’s very effective.”

“Flexible seating has had such a positive impact on my students,” said JFK teacher Kristen Lombardo. “Not only has it increased my students’ engagement and performance, it has also taught them how to be self-aware. It allows them to take ownership of their learning. They now know what type of seat helps them to do their best, and they are able to make that choice for themselves each and every day.”

“Flexible seating is not for every teacher or classroom,” said JFK fourth grade teacher Keri Schumacher. “The process of introducing and managing it takes some time. For me, flexible seating helps make learning fun for my students. They are more engaged and more enthusiastic about learning. They have to make good choices of where to sit and with whom. It changes every day, which allows them to communicate with different friends. They get to go into partnerships or groups more quickly, which aids in collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.”

“The move toward flex seating at May Moore has happened organically because teachers see the benefit of allowing students to choose where they learn best,” said Principal Philip Paniccia. “Classrooms in the 21st century are dynamic spaces, and flexible seating can play a large role in meeting the needs of our diverse learners.”   

John Quincy Adams Primary School has implemented flexible seating in many classrooms – including a Donors Choose grant-funded installation for the students of teachers Kasey Kephart and Jackie Stein – as well as the building’s Creation Station. 

“Students love the ability to choose from a variety of seating options,” said JQA Principal Christopher Molinelli. “Flexible seating allows student choice, movement and comfort while encouraging collaboration and community within the class.”

At the middle school, the library has been transformed with a flexible seating area, with plans to expand the project into a classroom next year to continue promoting an updated learning environment.

“The idea behind designing a space with flexible seating stemmed from our Chromebook initiative,” said Principal Eliana Levey. “Each student has access to a device that is mobile, so we wanted to create a space where students could work collaboratively in different types of groupings. The hope is that student creativity will be sparked, and students can engage in more outside-the-box thinking if they are in a different seating experience. Students like the novelty of having somewhere different to do their work, which leads to increased focus.”