As we teach and inspire students to learn, we are helping students to understand their own and other students’ strengths and the environment and styles of learning that suits them best. During the times when we’ve been able to welcome parents onsite, you may have noticed changes to some of our classroom furniture.
Have you ever tried focusing on something when you’re uncomfortable? Try getting stuck in a learning pit and trying to get unstuck, when you’re already uncomfortable. It is so much harder. We want students to feel comfortable and empowered to persevere and stretch themselves in their learning. There is also an abundance of research that supports the concept that flexible seating enhances learning.
Many of the chairs in our Secondary Teaching Learning Centre (STLC) can swivel around on wheels. Our Year 6 classrooms now have variations of furniture and the way that furniture is arranged – from booth style furniture, to seats around tables, higher stools around tables and trays for learning when seated on the floor or ground.
Our Year 3 classes always start the day meeting on the deck outside their classroom, students at The Yellow Cottage spend almost half their day outside and many of our classes move outside for fresh air and flexibility in their learning.
At The Yellow Cottage, we are all about utilising the children’s strengths – both character and learning. We encourage children to choose where they would like to work during our morning indoor session and then they choose again in the afternoon in our outdoor environment.
Mrs Kirsty Hails, Director, The Yellow Cottage Preschool, says, “We believe the environment is the third teacher and we make sure that we set up rich learning experiences that invite the children to lead their own learning. Our environments cater for lots of different strengths and styles of learning and making sure these are flexible and dynamic is an essential part of our curriculum. We follow the children’s lead, they drive our investigations with their questions and thirst for knowledge. It is our job as educators to recognise the learning and then scaffold this for each individual child.”
Mrs Janet Walsh, Lead Teacher of Innovation and Learning at Scone Grammar School, explains the many benefits of flexible seating.
“We are empowering the students to become responsible for learning in a way that works best for their individual learning style. It helps them to understand how they learn best, take ownership and become more flexible and resilient in their learning journeys. They can choose who they work with and easily transition between pairs, groups and discussions between the whole class, building a sense of community and focusing on their teamwork and collaboration skills. If learning partners aren’t working, teachers will guide students to make a better choice, resulting in a better understanding of what helps their learning.
We engaged Occupational Therapists (OT’s) who advised us of the benefits of variations to seating to assist learners to engage their minds when their core muscles are engaged through standing at tables or seating such as wobbly stools and fit balls.
Hot desking is a reality of the corporate world, as is building a sense of community, teamwork and the ability to learn independently. So many of the skills students can develop through this learning environment is setting them up for lifelong learning.”
If you have any questions about flexible seating, please contact Mrs Janet Walsh, our Lead Teacher of Innovation & Learning.