Flexible Seating and Why It Works

Maria Davou
3 min readJul 22, 2022

“We believe that children learn best when they are free to move their bodies throughout the day. Children have physical rights. They should not be constrained to desks. They should be allowed to move around in their environment, visit the bathroom as often as they like, and work in a variety of sitting or standing positions. We want to teach our children to respect their bodies and control their movements, and by allowing this freedom, we feel that this helps the growing brain learn more effectively.” (Montessori’s Philosophy)

I was doing a storytelling workshop at our 3rd Education Summer Retreat in Lefkada a week ago and I asked my teachers/ trainees to write a story based on some prompts. We were in a big conference room. Some sat on the floor, turning their back to the rest of us, one lay on the floor and did group work with 2 others, some sat on chairs sitting in an upright position, some made mini circles, interacted and then wrote their story, one was standing writing on a flipchart. Same thing happens in my classrooms with children all the time. I might be telling them a story, asking them to complete a worksheet, doing creative writing tasks or anything else and they always choose different seating positions.

Now I know there are several approaches to classroom seating arrangements, ranging from the rigid old-school arrangement with rows of desks facing the front of the classroom, to U-shape or horseshoe seating arrangements or even, having students sit on yoga balls, but my experience has shown me that the best seating arrangement is the one that offers freedom to the students to choose their favorite seating. Some students might choose to sit at their desk, some under their desk, some on the floor, some on a yoga ball, some might want to read and write standing up. What I’ve observed is that learners somehow know how they learn better, how they feel more comfortable, how they concentrate more. When we give them the freedom to choose their posture and way of seating, we give them the freedom to learn better.

This of course might not be possible at all times. Sometimes, when I tell a story, I might want my students in a circle; or I might…

Maria Davou

teacher, teacher trainer, reasearcher, school owner, public speaker, storyteller, author, publisher, education visionary