Suburban school utilizing flexible seating options for students

CLARENDON HILLS, Ill. (WLS) -- A suburban school has re-thought how classrooms are structured. Fifth graders at Prospect Elementary School in Clarendon Hills have traded in their desks for what's being called flexible seating.

Sitting on a box or a bicycle, kneeling on a cushion or hanging out on a couch, chair or the counter -- these are not your traditional classrooms. At Prospect Elementary in Clarendon Hills, fifth grade students have a close to 50 different seating options.

"It's one of those upcoming ways to run your classroom," said Justine Legner, fifth grade teacher at Prospect Elementary School.

Moving out the desks and bringing in flexible seating is a new trend in public education. This year, the fifth grade teachers at Prospect decided it would be a great way to teach the common core curriculum, something that requires students to be hands on and work together.

"They know where they work the best, they end of being much more on task, more engaging and they collaborate more this year than in the past," said Legner.

The kids pick where they want to sit or stand every day. Students admit it took a few weeks to get use to such a different and comfortable environment.

"I didn't know it was going to work out, I didn't know I would like it so much cause when you think of school you don't think of comfy-ness," said fifth grader Morgan Wyent.

"Yes, I love it! Sometimes you can work independent, sometimes you can be interactive with other classmates," said fifth grader Jack Crabb.

Prospect's Occupational Therapist Marie Tate says flexible seating has been helpful for kids with ADHD or sensory processing disorders.

"It lets those kids who struggle be fully integrated, they are no longer different because it's a cool thing to do," said Marie Tate, the school's occupational therapist Marie Tate.

Flexible seating is only a few weeks old at Prospect. While, so far, it is a success the school's principal wants to give this experiment more time before converting the whole school.

"Is it something that will continue with other grades? It's a possibility. But at this point, this is the grade we tried with it and the fifth graders seemed to really want it," said Principal Anne Kryger.

For students more comfortable with the traditional school desk, they can choose to sit in one of those as well.

The feedback from fifth grade parents has been very positive.

Prospect's PTO helped pay for some of the different seating options.
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