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How Flexible Classroom Seating Benefits Students

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A classroom's layout can have a significant impact on the educational success of students.

Studies have shown that flexible classroom seating has a positive impact on student's engagement and academic success. Flexible seating is the practice of providing students with a variety of seating options, whether it's mobile chairs, bean bags, or wobble stools.

Here are three major benefits flexible seating can bring to the classroom.

Elevates student engagement

Inflexible or rigid seating can make it hard for students to remain engaged for extended periods of time. Studies have shown that students confined to a desk are less likely to retain information than those able to move around in the classroom.

In fact, sitting in rigid or inflexible seats over extended periods of time can lead to fatigue, drowsiness, discomfort, inattention to learning, increased misbehavior and poor posture.

Flexible seating, on the other hand, gives students the power to learn in positions most comfortable to them. It's designed to increase focus by allowing students to lean, lounge, rock, wobble or stand, and in general be freer with their movements.

Movement boosts oxygen flow to the brain, which helps to keep students more alert and focused throughout long lessons.

Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, for instance, implemented flexible seating in their classrooms and found that students' grades improved and engagement in classroom conversations increased.

Gives students control over how they learn

Studies show that students in classrooms with seating options that cater to various needs and preferences reap the most benefits.

For instance, some students may prefer the softness and synergy of modular soft seating, which can be arranged into cozy pods for collaboration.

Others may appreciate sit-to-stand stools, which allow students to effortlessly go from sitting to standing during work.

And fidgety or energetic students may favor wobble stools, which allow them to wiggle, sway and rock during lessons without disrupting others.

For students who are partial to more structured seating, mobile school chairs are ideal, which offer back support but still boast the flexibility of durable casters.

Allowing students to choose where they sit and learn in the classroom enables them to feel in control of their education. It empowers students to think about how they learn best and urges them to be more strategic with their choices. Over time, this allows teachers to figure out which types of seating help students learn best.

When students are given this level of freedom in the classroom, it elevates their mood, boosts their confidence, and improves their academic performance.

Helps with sensory needs

For students with sensory issues, flexible seating can offer significant benefits.

Students with autism or ADHD, for example, often struggle with sensory overload or sensory-seeking behaviors.

Flexible seating options like ball chairs or rocking chairs allow these students to move in ways that help regulate their sensory input. This can lead to improved focus and attention by providing a controlled outlet for their sensory needs.

Bouncy bands can benefit students who struggle with restlessness or the need to move as well. Long, textured rubber bands that attach to chair or desk legs, bouncy bands add an element of flexibility to traditional furnishings by allowing students to silently wiggle and bounce their feet.

For students who are sensitive to their environment, fixed, traditional seating can cause anxiety. Flexible seating, by contrast, can create a more welcoming and less intimidating atmosphere. This can be especially helpful for students who experience anxiety related to sensory stimuli.

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