MINOT, N.D. - Comfy chairs are typical for preschool through third grade classrooms, but seeing bean bag chairs in a fifth grade classroom is out of the ordinary.
“I have seen a change with my students and the motivation and the engagement that they're in. So I think that jumping in and doing it will be beneficial for any grade level,” said Kylie Petrik, fifth grade teacher.
Parent Teacher Organizations are paying back Bismarck teachers for a portion of the money they spend on comfortable amenities, but teachers in other districts are digging deep into their own wallets.
“If I wouldn't get reimbursed for any of it, it would be $300, maybe a little more than that. Again it depends on the seating that you're choosing though,” said Petrik.
Petrik says that teachers can buy furniture, or make their own. Box crates can simply be turned upside down and attached to a cushion.
Flexible seating isn't just about the comfiest chair in the room, it's also about having a choice.
“There's always the exercise balls are a big hit. I think because it's the most fun option,” said Brooklyn Sailer, fifth grader.
“I can't really do my job as good in certain seats so I just pick the ones that make me do best,” said Logan Kenison, fifth grader.
But do not ditch all the desks just yet.
“I just like sitting at normal chairs because they're way more comfier than box chairs or ball chairs,” said Waylon Fulbright, first grader.
“The energy balls kind of roll around and take my focus off,” said Sailer.
Studies indicate this student choice opportunity is linked to higher academic performance.
There is more than just educational benefits in flexible seating, there are physical advantages too.
Not only do some of the alternative options improve posture, sitting on exercise balls can burn calories and even increase metabolism.