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My Sons classroom concern


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#1 my4beautifulboys

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:15 PM

My son is is Grade 3 class, and his class has no desks set up yindividually for each child. They have a few tables and chairs and then some can choose to sit on the floor to do writing, with leaning on a clipboard. I questioned the teacher and she said that children prefer to sit on the floor! In other countries they do. I am not happy at all about it, children need a routine and their own workspace.



#2 chickendrumstick

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:20 PM

But what if it actually works?
I'd like that option as it gave me more opportunity to stretch my body when necessary and also to remove myself from sitting next to someone I may not like or who may be distracting or a bad influence.
The school year is less than two weeks in...why not give it a chance?

#3 libbylu

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

Sounds like our school.  They have one two three composites and while there are some desks and chairs in the classrooms, there is not one for every kid in the classroom.  When there are writing tasks to do the kids go and find their own spot to write, so some will chose the floor, others will sit on the terrace and some will sit at a table or stand at the benches.
I am not sure about the older year levels though.

Edited by libbylu, 12 February 2013 - 10:24 PM.


#4 #YKG

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:32 PM

I came through we are discussing.

When I was in primary school (I'm 27) no one had individual desks at all we all shared a desk or they were grouped together, we also had beanbags and you could sit in them and do your work on a clipboard if you wished, it was all the classed from prep to 6 that had these. It was awesome and a hella lot more comfy then sitting on the hard plastic chairs and I found my shoulders would hurt because I hunched over my desk when sitting on a chair.

It can work and kids do like to sit on the floor, we had reading time where you had to be either on a bean bag or sitting on the floor in anway you wanted like lying down or sitting up against a wall or whatever. It was relaxing. I personally wouldn't be worried about the configuration.

#5 my4beautifulboys

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:37 PM

I feel that children need a routine and their own personal space in class, a work station that they organise and call it their own. I think there is a time for floor time, as a reward,  for free play for doing good work, or quiet reading, puzzle time or similar. Or of course class discussions.  I really dont think children can do their best work sitting on the floor leaning on a clipboard. Its going to be tiring and a strain on theyre backs too.

#6 CocobeanLillylove

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:41 PM

QUOTE (my3beautifulboys @ 12/02/2013, 11:37 PM)
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I feel that children need a routine and their own personal space in class, a work station that they organise and call it their own. I think there is a time for floor time, as a reward,  for free play for doing good work, or quiet reading, puzzle time or similar. Or of course class discussions.  I really dont think children can do their best work sitting on the floor leaning on a clipboard. Its going to be tiring and a strain on theyre backs too.


What indicates that there is no routine? Seating arrangements don't suggest if there is a routine or not.

#7 Foogle

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:43 PM

Sounds a bit Barbara Prashnig style to me and I think that's great.

An article for you to read.  

I like what Prashnig is doing within classrooms.  I first came across her a number of years ago in NZ and attended quite a few of her lectures and learning seminars.  

Don't discount a non-traditional classroom setup.  Many children find that it enhances their learning.




#8 my4beautifulboys

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:45 PM

The children that turn up to class in the mornings, tend to look abit Lost. They need their own desk to go to, to be able to sit down and read or colour in or just organise theyre pencils etc. I think that is routine for them.

#9 EssentialBludger

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:49 PM

I would personally find it a bit strange. I can't imagine sitting on the floor writing for extended periods of time and would find it uncomfortable. Beanbags would be cool though!

#10 roses99

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:54 PM

Is your child having a problem with it?

Or are you projecting your concerns about it onto your child?

I admit, it seems unconventional. But why not see how it goes?

I doubt the teacher is doing it for the fun of it. He/she has either found it's worked in the past or is trying something that might have merit.

When you say 'children need' this or that, you're only talking about one type of child. Kids all have different needs and learning styles.

#11 poss71

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:55 PM

Has the teacher explained to your children how it's supposed to work, and why she is doing it this way? That might help - not all children can just absorb a new situation and run with it...

They may be the classic desk learners and the traditional environment is just right for them. The teacher should be getting the children a little more involved in the process, IMO.

#12 libbylu

Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:59 PM

QUOTE (my3beautifulboys @ 12/02/2013, 11:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The children that turn up to class in the mornings, tend to look abit Lost. They need their own desk to go to, to be able to sit down and read or colour in or just organise theyre pencils etc. I think that is routine for them.


Our DSs class routine is to sit in a circle as soon as the music plays (one minute before the bell) so they are ready for their 'community circle' time once the bell goes.  They really shouldn't be in the classroom much before this - if they arrive early they can play outside.  As soon as the bell goes they are all focused and ready to begin their first activity (which is always the same).
What is the class routine once the bell goes? - that's what counts really.

And kids don't write for extended periods in the lower grades. Different in the higher grades I guess.

#13 my4beautifulboys

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:01 PM

No Ds came home from school and said he couldnt really write well, he had this bench to write on and he couldnt get his chair near enough, to do good writing. I dont know really, we re going to be having a teacher/parent meeting this week, so perhaps i ll  know abit more then.

When i questioned her about it, she said that some children prefer to work on the floor. And that theyre trialling it for this term too see how it all goes.

#14 libbylu

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:12 PM

If he has a clear preference for a table and chair, then he should have the opportunity to use one, of course, he may just need to let his teacher know his preference.
Out of our four closest government primary schools, three have this flexible type of set up with few tables, lots of floor space, reading corners, art spaces, kitchens in the classroom, audiovisual/computer areas etc. - at least in their younger age classrooms.  Only one we looked at had traditional tables and chairs for all of the little ones.
I think you will find it is becoming the norm, along with approaches such as 'child-directed learning'.

#15 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

I believe you have received an appropriate response in that case. It's a valid and legitimate learning set up and it is being done as a trial.

On what basis is the belief that children need their own table and work space to be successful?

That's a traditional arrangement but it certainly doesn't equate to success for all students.

Some students actually need something very different and will be unsuccessful when confined to a table and chair set up.

In my experience LOTS of children prefer to work on the floor. The vast majority in fact. It is also my experience that if students have their own table and chair and workspace not only do they spend an inordinate amount of time fighting over it but they find it incredibly difficult to move to another space to work and that can be crucial when working socially. Valuable learning time is wasted explaining to the student that they cannot work with their group if they insist that everyone sits in their 'own seats'.

I believe it needs a whole school approach however to make it work. Therefore my classroom is still a desk for every child. But I try to be relaxed about work spaces except for when they are doing handwriting or testing. It works for a great many lessons and I have clipboards available for students wishing to work on the floor. They are pretty much trained to work at their desks though. I hope they'll learn to be more flexible with their learning as the year goes on.

OP I think your DS needs to let the teacher know he is more comfortable at a desk and seek to actively use those spaces. If he's not getting access to them the teacher can assist.

#16 darcswan

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:33 PM

It's becoming popular in offices too.  Many businesses are adopting 'activity based working' - no fixed desks for workers, just different configurations of workspaces where you can go depending on what you're doing.  Macquarie were one of the first in Australia, but CBA, NAB, KPMG and many more have adopted it too.

An important part of the effectiveness of this approach is that workers have a choice of which space suits them.  Not all people do well sitting at desks for 6 hours a day.  Not all people like to tap away on their keyboards on the couch.  But this approach recognises and respects these differences.  When you're a child, its worth trying out different ways of working to see what suits you best.  

So OP... your posts speak in absolutes that are simply untrue.

#17 Bigfatbum

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:48 PM

That sounds like it would be perfect for my nearly 8 year old. I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone but I wish my school would trail it.

#18 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:48 PM

Id give it a try, but it wouldnt suit me personally. I like my own space for my things.

#19 Julie3Girls

Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:44 AM

It sounds to me like the kids actually have a choice .. that there are some tables and chairs available for te kids?
In which case I would have no real problem with it as a trial, as long as the teacher is monitoring the situation and willing to change to meet the needs of the kids.

I admit, I'd be wanting to have the kids to all have access to a desk. While there are definitely times when sitting on the floor etc would be great, I think there are benefits to having a desk to sit out for writing tasks.  At that age, they tend to still be doing handwriting, as well as other writing tasks where I do think it would be better to have a desk and chair situation. I'd be interested in the ergonomics of it as well - sitting probably in a chair would be better for their back and posture wouldn't it?

I do like the idea of the classroom being a bit free flowing though.  I know my DD3's classroom is pretty flexible, and the teacher is definitely one to try out experimental ideas - she has a few kids with aspergers and ADHD. So she is trialing lots of things - like allowing a couple of the kids on medication to have snacks constantly on their desk. Hot water bottles (just cold water), as cushions on their seats to allow them a bit of motion on their seats. One child has elastic cord around the legs of his chair, to give his feet somewhere to sit and bounce, without sitting there thumping the floor with his feet.  Gives them the ability to get those jiggles out, rather than all their concentration going into just sittng still.
She suggested yesterday that all the kids in the class can bring just a normal cushion in for their seats, to make them more comfy.
They do have desks for everyone, but seating arrangements change a lot. They don't store things at their desk - they have a plastic tray over at the wall for all their books etc, and the teacher has name cards that she placing on the desks. She moves them around as needed. In fact, the whole school works this way.

So as long as there is a desk available for your child, and the kids understand that there is a CHOICE, if they want to sit at a table they can, I don't see a major problem with it.

#20 liveworkplay

Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

Whislt our primary school does have enough seats and table space for each child, they are big, shared tables. Even at high school no one has their own "desk"  You have a tub (primary) or locker (high school) and that's for storage. No personal desk space to set up like a work desk to be seen.

If it works, I would have no problem with it. We all know how ergonomically unsound most desk/chair work spaces are.


#21 Kay1

Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:53 AM

My son would love this!! He hates sitting at a desk to work.

QUOTE
I do like the idea of the classroom being a bit free flowing though. I know my DD3's classroom is pretty flexible, and the teacher is definitely one to try out experimental ideas - she has a few kids with aspergers and ADHD. So she is trialing lots of things - like allowing a couple of the kids on medication to have snacks constantly on their desk. Hot water bottles (just cold water), as cushions on their seats to allow them a bit of motion on their seats. One child has elastic cord around the legs of his chair, to give his feet somewhere to sit and bounce, without sitting there thumping the floor with his feet. Gives them the ability to get those jiggles out, rather than all their concentration going into just sittng still.
She suggested yesterday that all the kids in the class can bring just a normal cushion in for their seats, to make them more comfy.


Wow!! I so wish we had that teacher at our school!

#22 EBeditor

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:42 AM

We have activity based working at Essential Baby too. I'd love a beanbag area!

#23 Sentient Puddle

Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

For formal writing activities - no.  DS has hand strength issues and must sit on a chair of a proper height paying attention to his posture and shifting weight when writing. The teacher encourages all children in class to do the same for all writing activities to improve everyones posture and core body strength.  For other listening or playing or thinking type activities fine.  Lying on the tummy pushing up etc is good for core body strength.

#24 Julie3Girls

Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

QUOTE
Wow!! I so wish we had that teacher at our school!

I am soooooo loving this teacher!!!

The parent info meeting was yesterday, and honestly, I'm just so impressed with her, and really looking forward to this year.  She is definitely one of those above and beyond teachers ... some of the ideas she has for the year, ways to engage the kids.  She is willing to try out so many new things.

#25 Banana Pancakes

Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

That kind of classroom would suit me and my ds perfectly. I hate sitting upright in uncomfortable chairs. Its one of the reasons I dont work in an office  biggrin.gif




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