Classrooms may start to look a little different, if school board’s take notice of one Quebec teacher’s initiative. Lyanna Bravo is the vice-principal of Laval’s Souvenir Elementary school and has introduced flexible seating into her classrooms. Bravo says just as the rest of our world is evolving in areas like business and technology, education and classroom layouts should also evolve.
The concept is based on Universal Design and integrates tools and seating options which are aligned with the students’ varied learning styles. For students who spend more time at the principal’s office for distracting their classmates, a bouncy chair or wobbly stool may be the answer. Other students who are easily distracted prefer a secluded cubicle to work in. For the student who is always in trouble for gazing out of the window, a high stool closer to the window may be the incentive they need as long as the work gets done. Bravo agrees the concept is a little unorthodox, “but what’s the goal here?” To have a classroom full of uncomfortably still children? “Or have them learn? For it to succeed teachers need to own it,” says Bravo. “It’s a matter of tolerance and letting go of control.”
The educator spent $3,000 in Home and School funds and a $2,000 Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation grant on the special furniture, noise cancelling headphones, and exercise balls, to transform the classroom design. She has also implemented ten minute ‘brain breaks’ for students who earned a pass to leave the room and expend some energy with a quick round of badminton, a kick-a-bout or a stint on a stationary bike. “They come back refreshed and ready to resume their work,” says Bravo. “It works.”
For more information on the benefit of Flex Seating for kids, click here.