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Students Reading in New Sitting Area
Bronxville, NY

With a book in hand, fourth graders in Derrick DiRienzo’s class moved freely around their classroom to choose which type of seating worked best for their needs. Some preferred reading their book on floor cushions, while others opted for reclined seating or their new desks and chairs.

“In my classroom, the students can choose where they want to sit during independent math, reading and writing time,” DiRienzo said. “This level of choice has promoted both collaboration and productivity but also their independence and responsibility. Choosing the right place to sit is a skill that we are working on because it requires a certain level of maturity.”

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation, DiRienzo’s classroom is one of several elementary school classrooms that are equipped with flexible seating options to keep students engaged and to optimize learning. The classrooms are equipped with new desks and chairs can be easily moved around to encourage collaboration among peers. In addition, they feature various types of floor seating options that allow students to sit in areas of the classroom that are most conducive to their personal productivity.

“The transformational professional development and consulting our faculty has been receiving from Innovation Design for Education has contributed to our understanding of executive functioning,” DiRienzo said. “The newly acquired furniture is aligned to the structures of IDE including but not limited to activity lists, benchmark lessons, the learner-active and technology-infused classroom and authentic learning units. The furniture is creating unique opportunities for us to apply this new understanding of how our students learn successfully.”

While flexible seating refers to the types of furniture, it also refers to the freedom it provides students with. DiRienzo said that, ultimately, he would like to move away from assigned seating and reach a level of full classroom flexibility.

“The fourth-grade team is very appreciative of the Foundation’s assistance in helping us to reach this goal,” he said. “They share our modern approach to classroom flexibility, and we look forward to partnering with them on future projects.”