Photos by Anthony Spaulding/Director of Communications, Pope John XXIII Regional High School —ABOVE: Reverend Brown second grade student Quinn Klebez, center, sits in an office chair and three of his classmates sit on stability ball chairs during Ms. Stephanie Marotta's class Friday. RB is offering flexible seating in its first and second grade classrooms for the first time this year. BELOW: RB students Victor Fiore, sitting on a blue balance disc on the left, and Austin Gildea work on a low-rising table during class.
By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — Sitting at a metal desk on a plain chair, facing forward at a chalkboard and looking at a teacher has been an image planted in people’s heads forever as to what children experience when they go to elementary school.
But, Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School is giving its first and second grade students a different picture about their classrooms.
This year, the school has put in flexible seating classrooms to help its first and second grade students learn their school subjects in a more comfortable setting.
“This type of seating has been found to increase student engagement and participation,” Reverend Brown Principal Mrs. Patricia Klebez said. “These classrooms are being transformed into a place where they can enjoy learning without being bound to one spot.”
The idea for flexible seating at Reverend Brown came from initial research from Reverend Brown first grade teacher Mrs. Katie Robinson. Mrs. Robinson shared the idea with Mrs. Klebez, who did some more research and found that this idea supported the school’s mission and was something teachers could easily implement for this school year.
“I believe it is important to have it because we are building future leaders here at Reverend Brown,” Mrs. Klebez said. “Our students are encouraged daily to be critical thinkers, creative, and collaborative, which are all 21st Century skills necessary to be successful in our global workplace. Research and experience shows that students learn best when they feel safe and comfortable. Flexible seating is an initiative that enables all of this to occur while encouraging a love of learning at an early age.”
When Mrs. Klebez and Mrs. Robinson presented the idea to the rest of the first and second grade teachers, the teachers loved the idea. The school bought blue beanbag chairs, high-top tables with colored stack stools, pillows that sit on top of plastic crates, scoop rocker seats, balance discs, stability ball chairs, low-rising tables and wobble chairs for their first and second grade classes.
And only six days into the school year, the teachers and their students have enjoyed the new seating initiative.
Mrs. Robinson and Reverend Brown second grade teacher Ms. Stephanie Marotta love how their students have embraced their freedom of deciding where to sit during class.
“I know it’s early on, but seeing them choose a seat has made them more active and more engaged,” Mrs. Robinson said. “It gives them that independence to find a place that works for them.”
“It allows the kids to have a choice in how they are learning and what is most comfortable for them,” Ms. Marotta said. “What (seat) works for them one day for them may not work the next day. The kids love them already.”
Second grade students Quinn Klebez and Chloe Kachmar like how cozy the beanbag chairs and the scoop rockers are. They also feel they are getting a great education from them.
“They are good,” Klebez said. “They are really comfy. We are learning a lot while sitting in them.”
“They are nice,” Kachmar said. “We are paying attention a lot and are learning more.”
Reverend Brown is hoping these flexible seats will continue to aid in their students’ development as the year progresses.
“We hope to see more growth in the children and be able to push them further,” Mrs. Robinson said. “If they are comfortable, they will be more engaged and we will get the best out of them.”