MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – School is back in session for most Oklahoma districts.
But, some parents in the Mid Del Public Schools district were shocked when they dropped off their little ones in a classroom with no desks.
At Mid Del’s Schwartz Elementary, the kindergarten teachers have kicked the desks to the curb, figuratively.
Michelle Ashley has been teaching at Schwartz for 19 years, and she’s thrilled to start the school year off without any traditional sets of desk and chairs.
“How often do we hear a 5-year-old being told ‘Stay in your seat,'” Ashley said. “That’s just developmentally inappropriate.”
In Ashley’s class, the students choose their spot: standing table, kneeling table, carpet square, teacher’s table or mini desk.
Education experts call the style of learning “flexible seating,” and they said giving kids options to sit, lay or kneel develops core strength.
“It also helps with handwriting. When students anchor their arm, they will write letters with their fingers,” Ashley said. “It’s really helping them developmentally in that way.”
Next door, Mrs. Frey’s room is also missing the traditional rows of desks and chairs.
Instead, her students can choose the floor, a teepee or a kiddie pool filled with blankets.
“Is it perfect? Maybe not. Is it bad? Absolutely not. It’s a good thing,” Ashley said.
According to nationwide experts, flexible is appropriate for early childhood classes.
Students are expected to sit in desks and desk clusters by second or third grade.