Should kindergarten have assigned seating has been a often debated question. Since the answer can change from year to year, here are some things to consider.
First of all, always check your school or district’s rules and regulations. They may require assigned seating or leave it up to the teacher. In my school, it is a personal preference.
If you are able to make your own decision regarding assigned seating, here are some of my thoughts and experiences on this subject.
I find that at the beginning of the new school year, assigned seating is very helpful. It enables the new students to have their own space. This fosters a sense of ownership and security in the new environment. Placing a name plate or tag at each students place enables them to find their spot at their new desk or table. Check out blog post “Free Editable Name Plates” for a **FREEBIE**. This name plate and consistent seating arrangement enables the teacher and the other students to put names with the faces.
Assigned seating creates consistency. They know exactly where to be when the bell rings. This also allows each student the opportunity to communicate and work with others within their close proximity. It also provides a consistent location to return to after centers, specials, lunch, etc.
Open Flexible Seating
Freedom to choose where to sit should be available after kindergarteners become more comfortable with the classroom procedures and schedule. Open flexible seating choices on a first come-first serve basis can be a “teaching moment”. My students still retrieved their name tags from their cubbies to put at the seat they chose for the day. Students learn to share and how to handle if they don’t get the seat the like.
However you choose for your students to have free choice, “final say is teacher say”. As the teacher, you will begin to observe who is your heavy talkers, who doesn’t get along, etc. Do you want two chatterboxes sitting next to each other? You can let the choice to sit by each other stand and if it becomes a problem-give a warning, then change sitting arrangement. The teacher has the final say!
I have 3 rules for the classroom.
1) Be kind.
2) Make smart choices.
3) Grow your brain.
When seating arrangements become a problem, I warn the student with “Is that being kind?”, “Is that a smart choice?”, or “Is that how you grow your brain?”. These questions usually work for most of the seating problems that arise. This allows for your kindergarteners to make good choices and “grow their brains”!
I still believe freedom to choose facilitates the learning process for these new students. Where to sit and flexible seating choice gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility for their choices. Having many different seating options available in the kindergarten classroom allows for choice, collaboration with each other, and sense of community.
Do you want flexible seating options? Check out blog post “The Key Benefits Of Flexible Seating“.
To summarize, I believe students benefit greatly with assigned seating in the beginning. However, phasing into free choice should be the goal in every kindergarten classroom.