A Classroom Set-Up for Success

By Momentous Institute | May 22, 2017

This post is part of our tour of Momentous School. For the rest of the posts in this series, click here.

When you walk in to a classroom at Momentous School, don’t be surprised to see a student laying on the floor reading a book. Or you might see a student at a standing desk, bouncing on an exercise ball, or sitting a table with a group. That’s because we allow our students the freedom to sit and learn in the way that works best for them.

Most of our classrooms have a pretty similar setup. There’s usually a rug where the students can circle up for morning meeting, group lessons, breathing activities, and closing circle. And then there’s a table where the teacher can sit with just a few students in order to do some small group instruction. And the rest of the space is often flexible seating choices for students.

It’s not doing a child any favors to have him sit all day in a desk in a straight row staring at the front of the room. As adults, we would never want to do that and it’s even harder for children! And we can’t expect that all students will need the same environment to learn. Some focus best when they’re seated alone at a desk, others need to fidget, others to stand. And that’s okay! The lesson shouldn’t be that they must adapt to learn to sit in a desk all day. The lesson should be that they should learn to understand what they need in order to be successful, and then make that happen (within reason). As adults, we have the freedom to listen to music as we work, use a standing desk, dim the lights, or whatever else helps us concentrate best. When we give children the tools to identify what they need, we’re setting them up for success.

Of course, our teachers monitor the classroom and make sure that students are on task. And they might give some guidance if they feel that a student needs a different spot than the one he selected. But the freedom to choose really falls in the hands of the students. The more we empower children to understand themselves as learners and give them choices when we can, the more productive the classroom will be!