Boost Student Learning and Engagement with Flexible Seating


My first-grade teacher had a bathtub in her classroom.

But this white claw-footed tub – speckled with colorful painted letters, numbers, shapes – was unique. During carpet time, a few students would get to sit in the tub as we worked on our letters or listened to the class story. It always made learning more fun, and it was a special treat.

Since then, flexible and active seating have become more common classroom practices. Now they’re used for more than just a reward for good behavior. Studies show that providing students with an option of where and how they learn can help them retain and recall information more easily. It can also help them to work more collaboratively with their peers.

Plus, being able to choose where they sit may make students more comfortable in the classroom or allow them to fulfill sensory needs. In turn, this can help improve overall focus and engagement with the lesson being taught.

When designing a classroom that uses flexible or active seating, it’s important to be conscious of the furniture you are choosing to include.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:

  • What’s your classroom vision?
  • What are you willing to get rid of to make space for new furniture?
  • What kind of seating options do you want to include?
    • You can take your students’ attention spans, sensory needs, and fine or gross motor skills into account.
    • Don’t simply get the same chairs for everyone, as that can be counterproductive.
    • What rules will you have for your students to use these options?
  • How will you fund this?
    • Teacher donation sites, DIY projects, federal funding, district funding, etc.

Choosing Your Seating Options

Different types of seating provide various benefits for your students. School Health offers a range of seating options to enhance your classroom, and our experts can help you find the best items for your students’ needs.


Softer seating options, like Disco-O-Sit Cushions and Inflatable Posture/Balance Wedges, not only make hard plastic desk chairs more comfortable, they can also help improve posture, balance, coordination, and strength. Plus, the portability of cushions like the Bitty Bottom Cushion Seat make them a great addition to classroom carpet time or an easy way for older students to take their seating to different classrooms!


Sitting in a regular desk chair for a full school day can be tiresome. Adding unique seating options, like Bean bag chairs and the Comfy Cozy Peapod Inflatable Chair, can help students recharge and re-engage during a class lesson or free reading time.


Modifying existing furniture can be a great way to save classroom space while still providing active seating options for your students. For example, adding Wiggle Wobble Chair Feet to a standard school chair will transform it into a Wobble Chair! This way, fidgety learners have an outlet for excess energy while still sitting at their assigned seat.

If you have students who like to bounce their legs, the FootFidget 2.0 is a great addition to your existing classroom desks. Like the chair feet, this accessory also allows students to release extra energy while remaining at their desk.

As educators try to find new ways to engage and teach their students, they are also becoming more aware of their students’ well-being and how it can impact their success. Adding flexible seating to your classroom can be a great way to acknowledge your students’ needs because it gives them a choice in how and where they learn. In turn, this allows them to better connect with their peers, the teacher and their class work throughout the school day.




Additional Resources