What’s Working: Flexible Seating at Eastside Elementary School

CLINTON, Miss. (WJTV) – School desks have come a long way since their cast iron and wood beginnings.

Nimble young minds might require more fluid options to learn more efficiently.

If you are anything like me, you spent countless hours of your childhood shoe horned into a desk that could feel confining at times.

Emerging research suggests that might not be the best way to learn.

Marcy McDonald’s 4th grade classroom might not look like what you are used to. It’s one of two at Eastside Elementary School in Clinton without traditional desks.

Fourth grader Tyler McKee explains, “We have like yoga balls, and we have like standing desks. We have pegs that help with our core, and we have like a ball table.

Classmate Lakiyah Sutton chips in, “We have a Big Joe chair. We have a futon, and the futon is like a couch and the Big Joe is like a bean bag chair, and we also have balls that help our core and help us stretch our back.”

Collectively, it’s known as flexible seating.

Ms. McDonald first heard of it on a cross-fit website, then she started her research.

She says, “It was only positive. There was not a negative thing at all about it, and I realized, there were so many options for kids to be able to sit at a seat where they learn best, and we as teachers, that’s our job.”

Students seem to be taking to their new arrangements.

Lakiyah explains, “When you are sitting in regular chairs, you don’t really get to move a lot, and when you are sitting in these different chairs, you move more than you do in regular chairs.”

Tyler adds, “They’re creative, and they help me focus better.”

Students spent the first eight weeks of school switching seats. Each settled on a favorite.

Lakiyah says, “The futon, because it’s more comfortable and relaxing.”

But, it’s where their teacher decides they learn the best, that they’ll end up.

Ms. McDonald explains, “We’ve already seen an incline in attitude. They’re excited to be here. They don’t come in sluggish. They come in and they’re like, ‘Ya, that’s my seat today.’ ”

Don’t be surprised to see it become more and more common, especially in Clinton.

Flexible seating is also credited with helping kids burn off calories and a little of that extra energy.

The research suggests that students even improve their posture and had better oxygen flow to their brains.

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