St. Patrick Catholic Academy Adopts Flexible Seating Arrangement in Class

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Faith, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

Whether you plop, flop or perch, where you sit in a classroom matters. In most, the students are unique, but their desks – are all the same.

Mr. Moloney’s seventh grade class at St. Patrick Catholic Academy is breaking the mold.

“My favorite seat to sit at is the couch,” said Valentina Carnevali. “It’s really comfortable and you can sit with friends so if you need help, you can help each other out.”

It’s called flexible seating. Mr. Moloney found the idea on social media and shortly after pitching it to his principal – his classroom had a couch, rugs, tables and beanbags.

“We find that students when they’re comfortable work best and I’ve seen scores go up and students’ confidence and motivation grow and they become more independent,” he said.

Not only has it been great for boosting confidence and grades – it’s taking his students’ mental health into account. And if you’re wondering how can the students write well in this alternative arrangement? Well Mr, Maloney’s thought of everything, including clipboards.

“The beanbag usually gives me the most comfort, I like to lean back and have my feet out so I use a clipboard, have my paper and it feels better for me,” said Colin Lucey.

The kids say it’s completely transformed their idea of learning and made them realize they don’t have to sit to succeed.

“I’m more of a visual learner and I’m better when someone helps me, I can’t really do a lot of things in my head, if I’m sitting with people I can help them as well,” Valentina said.

The seating is flexible but it’s not a free-for-all if you get to a seat at the same time as someone else – you’re playing rock, paper, scissors for it.

Principal Kathleen Curatolo says it’s teaching the kids a lesson in responsibility and that it’s all part of St. Patrick’s mission.

“When you walk into St. Pats you know you’re in a Catholic school, it’s welcoming, we’re committed to each other and our mission is to lead by example like Christ did,” she said.

When the group of 25 is in class they know they belong in their seats.