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The Importance of Flexible Seating in the Classroom

In today’s classrooms, continuing to make changes that will create the best learning environment in order for children to feel welcomed, safe, excited, and comfortable will not only meet their needs to create an inclusive classroom it will play into their success in learning anything they put their mind to.

Whether it is the design of the classroom, how the walls are decorated, the seating options, the materials within the centers, being able to create the best learning space is the key to the environment being the "third teacher."

Have you ever heard that the classroom environment is the third teacher? This concept is part of the world acclaimed Reggio Emilia Approach which was founded by Italian Early Childhood Educator Loris Malaguzzi.

What does Environment as the Third Teacher Mean? “There are three teachers of children: adults, other children, and their physical environment.” Loris Malaguzzi. Malaguzzi emphasized that the environment plays a central role in the process of making learning meaningful. He defined the environment as the third teacher which is a flexible environment, responsive to the need for teachers and children to create learning together.

In order to set up the third teacher you need to design your environment with purpose and intent. When you intentionally and purposefully design the learning environment, the third teacher becomes a flexible, engaging environment, responsive to the need for teachers and children to create learning together. In order to promote the hunger for learning, we should create environments that reflect the environment as the third teacher.

The world is constantly changing and evolving. Being able to have a better understanding of how to create the best learning environment for the students will be beneficial in student success. Fexible learning environments are most conducive to children's engagement, security, ownership, and achievement.

Transitioning to providing flexible-seating design in the environment allows children to wobble, rock, bounce, lean or stand, which increases oxygen flow to the brain, blood flow and core strength. This aids in keeping young minds more alert and focused. The benefits of providing flexible seating within the classroom, will promote choice, physical health, comfort, community, collaboration, commitment to learning, communication, sensory input, and fun.

We recently added the #gifted Children's Factory Ottoman Sets (5-Piece and 3-Piece) to our centers. We have used the ottomans as seats, tables, and in our reading nooks. As you can see the children have built blocks, explored sensory materials, read books, engaged in dramatic play, and enhanced their gross motor skills.

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