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Picking a seat became much more interesting in one sixth grade classroom

Seats include desks, yoga mats, and cafe tables
Posted at 11:12 AM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-06 15:00:06-05

BERGEN, N.Y. (WKBW) — Telling students to sit down has a whole new meaning in one classroom.

A sixth grade mathematics and health classroom at Byron-Bergen Elementary School in Bergen, NY has cafe tables, standing desks, yoga mats, stadium seats and more. It's all part of teacher Lynette Gall's flexible seating classroom.

"It's more of a coffee shop space," said Gall. "You could equate it to going to Starbucks to work and sitting where you are most comfortable. The students are more engaged and therefore learning more, because they're more comfortable."

The American Academy of Pediatrics says movement in the classroom is important for children's health. The students choose where they want to sit everyday, and can move around throughout the day. While the math problems may be difficult, the lesson on the white board is simple "sit where you can focus."

That means something different for every student.

"My favorite seat is the rocking chair because it helps me focus a lot because I get to rock back and forth," said one student.

Another student preferred the couch for focusing "because it's really soft and squishy."

Parents said they've seen results. Kimberly Maskell's son was about 6 feet tall when he was in the 6th grade class last year, meaning it wasn't always easy for him to sit at a traditional elementary school desk.

"He was very comfortable and that made him focus even more instead of focusing on the hurt of his legs," Maskell said.

Other classrooms in the district use flexible seating too, from a second-grade classroom to a high school social studies classroom, but the district believes Gall's classroom is the only one that has zero traditional desks.