What to consider before taking the Flexible Seating plunge:

How do I get my administration/teachers/parents on board?

Where am I going to get the money?

How physically big/little are your students?

How are you going to help your custodial staff?

What if flexible seating does not work?

How do I get my administration/teachers/parents on board?

Education! Educate everyone around you. People do not support initiatives they do not understand. Offer to prepare a presentation about flexible seating. You can present your ideas/learning philosophy to the Board of Education, your administration/teachers, and your class parents. The classroom setting is something that has been fixed for centuries, so changing up something that is not “broken” might be a tough battle at first. When I started receiving my flexible seating furniture, my colleagues thought my main goal was just to make my room look “cool” and new. Once I began spending whole class periods talking to my students about flexible seating- what it means, its purpose, my goals- the students started conveying that information to their teachers. I also invited teachers into my room and encouraged them to ask questions.

I made posters to hang in the hallway about flexible seating. I want to highlight how the furniture is used. I want to explain how flexible seating gives the power to choose back to our students. I wanted teachers to know that my initiative is founded upon research that proves flexible seating leads to increased student achievement and performance.

Where am I going to get the money?

The money portion could be a major hindrance in achieving a flexible seating classroom. To redo my entire classroom, I spent $3,000.00. I personally find DonorsChoose to be a little confusing, so I went another way. I hosted a school-wide fundraiser with the company Whooo’s Reading. I was able to raise $2,000.00 from this fundraiser from a total of about 230 students. The fundraiser was manageable, but it did take a lot of my time in terms of extra communication with the school business office, extra communication with teachers, calling parents/relatives who donated, etc., but it was worth it! I was also able to get a third of what I needed donated by my school’s Parent-Teacher Association. I am sure a grant proposal for flexible seating to your school’s Educational Association would also be granted. ***If you need sample language for a grant proposal, leave a comment below with your email, and I’ll send you some documents!

How physically big/little are your students?

Many websites like Kaplan, Lakeshore, SchoolSpecialty, and School Outfitters give you size recommendations for your purchases. I physically measured my students at various sample workspaces to decide on my sitting table height, the height of my kneeling table, and the size of stability balls I ordered. Do not be hasty when you purchase. Read the reviews and the product descriptions thoroughly because exchanging items is not a simple task! Also, keep all boxes, bags, etc., that come with the product until you are certain that the size, shape, color is right for you. Keeping original packing makes exchanging/returning much easier.

How are you going to help your custodial staff?

When you get rid of your desks, that means there are desks with no home! One thing to consider before taking the flexible seating plunge is to check with your custodial staff. Ask them if there is room to store the unused desks. If the desks are in disrepair, they will most likely dispose of them; however, if the desks are usable, they will most likely store them for the future. If you know your school’s storage space is lacking, check with your Business Administrator about the possibility of getting the furniture put up for auction. This would need to be approved by the Board of Education, so it takes some time to set in motion.

When you get rid of desks, there is a lot of “stuff” on the floor. This makes nightly cleaning a more time-consuming task for your custodial staff. Think of ways to store your furniture off the floor to make clean up even easier for your custodial staff. I have several tables in my room. I wanted hard workspaces for my students, but I also wanted a solution to the issue of everything being on the floor at night. Think about storage before buying your furniture.

What if flexible seating does not work?

It will work if you want it to! Flexible seating makes your life a little more hectic at first, but if you stick with rules/limitations/high expectations, it will work. Believe that it will work, and it will. Do not give up on this dream. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about for months/years, you are ready. If you truly believe in what flexible seating is meant to accomplish, everything will fall into place!

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