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Elementary School Classroom In Westchester Offers Flexible Seating

A flexible seating classroom at Crompond Elementary School in Yorktown Heights.
A flexible seating classroom at Crompond Elementary School in Yorktown Heights. Photo Credit: Contributed

A new initiative at an elementary school in Northern Westchester has provided diverse seating arrangements for students.

Two teachers at Crompond Elementary in Yorktown Heights are piloting a flexible seating program, thanks to a grant from the Yorktown Foundation for Excellence. Tori  Cavallo and Katelyn Fornaro thought the diverse seating options and arrangements would encourage collaboration and critical thinking.

“As students move forward, they’re going to need to be able to work collaboratively, think critically and communicate with each other,” says Cavallo. “So we wanted to provide a classroom that would give them those opportunities throughout the day.”

The Yorktown Central School District said research shows that flexible seating options are beneficial in developing 21st-century learning skills. Fornaro says many parents walk into the room and remark that their workplaces look just like the classroom.

“Adults are not sitting in a cubicle with a desk and a chair anymore,” says Fornaro. “You find a place to set up your laptop and you get to work. So I think we’re providing students with an environment that is going to make them successful in the future.”

Fourth-grade teacher Adele Kivel started her own version of flexible seating several years ago when she realized her students did their best work in a comfortable, homey atmosphere. Her classroom is organized into groups of furniture she found at garage sales. There are no desks.

“The children share their ideas with one another much more easily because they are in little groups and they are actually talking to each other,” says Kivel. “They’re fully engaged.”

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