When non-kindergarten teachers enter my classroom for the first time, one of the first things they notice and comment on are the chairs. Kindergarten chairs are small. Some of them are downright tiny. If you’ve ever seen a four-year-old you’d know why. They don’t take up much room and to sit comfortably, their chairs need to be sized down.
In our classroom, we’ve got a mix of chairs, from ones that look small enough for a doll to larger ones that would comfortably sit a second or third grader. When I’m not kneeling next to a sprout helping her streeeeeeetch out a word, I pop a squat in one of the many sized chairs in the classroom. Am I comfortable? Absolutely not, but changing lives isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t always cozy.
Being the small spheres of compact energy they are, many sprouts have trouble sitting for more than about four seconds. I’ve seen children find a way to ‘sit’ in their chairs in just about every way possible except the proper one.
I used to resort to endless reminders… ‘four on the floor’ (referring to the four legs of the chair), ‘bottom to bottom and back to back’ (bottom of the chair to child’s bottom and back of the chair to child’s back), and the ever witty, ‘please sit properly!’ said with a smile hoping to mask my frustration.
I’ve given up on all of these… now I just walk over to the squirmy sprout and whisper, ‘Stand up, push your chair in, and work.’ I usually get a look of astonishment. Yes, Virginia, you do not have to sit in our classroom. You can stand up, push your chair in, and wiggle and bop till your heart’s content. As long as you’re safe, I don’t care.
So the next time you start twitching and itching in your chair (am I the only one this happens to?), remember how tiny the chairs are in my classroom and be thankful your chair is at least large enough to hold you… then stand up, push your chair in and dance… but keep working and, by all means, stay safe!
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