Central Unified school tries out deskless classroom for students

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Teachers at Polk Elementary said the flexible seating arrangement tackles kids' natural fidgeting, giving them more freedom to move around and they've already seen positive improvements in students. (KFSN)

A new classroom at Central Unified is getting kids out of their seats and into their comfort zones.

Fourth-grade teacher Sunny Gallegos stops by each of her students' workspace after she gives them an assignment. Gallegos is taking a unique approach to helping her students learn-- she took away all classroom desks.

"Cognitively, it's really good for kids," she said. "Developmentally, they need to move when they're learning they need to be able to get up and walk if they need to get up and walk."

The most popular seats in her classroom are the yoga balls but students also flock to the couch, spread yoga mats on the floor or head to group tables.
Lilli Sharnick and Samuel Kandarian sat on balance pads during class.

"It's easier to sit wherever you want you don't have to go to a specific spot every day," Lilli said.

"I was excited because usually, I don't like desks because my teacher would have to stop teaching and say get your hands out of your desks and then stop then go back and just keep doing that," Kandarian said.

Gallegos said the flexible seating arrangement tackles kids' natural fidgeting, giving them more freedom to move around. She's already seen positive improvements in students.

"Kids are definitely more engaged," she explained. "They're more willing to participate. We do a lot of group work in here so this is better for our group work that we do and I've noticed the behavior is much better and test scores have gone up."

Polk Elementary principal Geoffrey Garratt said implementing flexible seating in Gallegos' classroom was a perfect opportunity to be innovative.

"I'm excited," Garratt said. "It's great to see students take ownership of their learning. And the choice that they have t pick a location that meets their learning style for their day."

This idea has become so popular at Polk Elementary that several other teachers are now in the process of transforming their classrooms to flexible seating as well.
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