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Sitting on the carpet - not conducive to learning

(28 Posts)
wheelsonthebus Tue 20-Sep-11 11:27:21

I am tired of my dd having to sit on the floor at school. Whatever happened to desks? How can sitting kids on a carpet help them concentrate? Even the tables they sometimes sit at are circular (so they all look at each other (and chat)). Basic ergonomics suggests that sitting at a desk and looking straight ahead at the teacher or the whiteboard rather than in a circle would make more sense (exams aren't taken in circles for example). I don't make my dd sit on the floor at home. Why should she have to at school? Anyone else feel like this?

funnypeculiar Tue 20-Sep-11 11:29:06

How old is your daughter?

wheelsonthebus Tue 20-Sep-11 11:34:11


gabid Tue 20-Sep-11 11:42:59

Learning doesn't only take place when looking at and listening to a teacher. It is good for young children to be able to move around the classroom for different tasks, discuss in pairs, groups, help each other, figure out a problem ... I am sure someone will expand on that.

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 12:24:40

1. Most of their learning does not come from the teacher. So sitting it desks and staring straight ahead at the teacher is not a good idea. They do a lot of group work and discussions, that's why they sit facing each other at tables. There's been loads of research to suggest you learn more by discussing it then by listening to it.

2. Therefore sitting on the carpet is the time when they look at the teacher and concentrate on her.

3. 7 year olds enjoy sitting on the carpet. It's good for them to sit on the floor! And the only reason us old fogeys don't find it comfortable anymore is because we stopped doing it.


BluddyMoFo Tue 20-Sep-11 12:26:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wheelsonthebus Tue 20-Sep-11 13:05:27

I'm not suggesting a throne. hmm

'Most of their learning does not come from the teacher'. I am obviously living in a parallel universe.

MrsGravy Tue 20-Sep-11 13:10:42

I think the point Indigo is trying to make is that, for 7 year olds, they simply don't spend the entire day listening to the teacher like you would at secondary school. They'll be engaged in group activities, working together on stuff, learning about teamwork/co-operation etc. Heck, even in my day we didn't sit in rows looking at the teacher - I think that went out of the window a long, long time ago.

The sitting on the carpet thing is, I have always presumed, because it's a more relaxing and informal way of getting the kids to sit still and listen. And presumably easier than getting a room full of young kids to turn their seats in the right direction and remain focused when they are at a distance from the teacher - as they would be if they stayed at their desks.

Oh and my 4 and 6 year old often sit on the floor at home - by choice!

PatriciaHolm Tue 20-Sep-11 13:15:23

At this age, so much of their work is done collaboratively or in groups - be that whole class or smaller groups - it would make no sense to sit in regimented lines as you are suggesting. That type of "shut up and listen to me and copy down what I say" learning really isn't in use in primary schools these days! Well, there may be some very academically inclined private schools that still do it I suppose....

2BoysTooLoud Tue 20-Sep-11 13:15:37

Carpet time very good for the immune system I'm sure!
Ooh the things that happen on that carpet. My DS says sick is covered with special sand to clean it. He has also told me about poo on the carpet [reception].. nice.
However they seem to survive.

SamsungAndDelilah Tue 20-Sep-11 13:20:36

there was a thread along these lines a couple of years ago. The OP (a different one) said she didn't like carpet time for the reasons outlined above, plus her daughter would get cold ovaries. I have a little giggle inside every time I hear people complain about carpet time smile

IndigoBell Tue 20-Sep-11 13:32:43

'Most of their learning does not come from the teacher'. I am obviously living in a parallel universe.

Sorry, I should have clarified. 100% of a child's learning comes from the child. None of it comes from the teacher. Their brain cells have to work out what's going on and make the cognitive leap.

Some of these cognitive leaps will happen when a child is doing something like reading, writing, playing in the sand pit, or experimenting.

Some of these cognitive leaps will happen when they discuss stuff. Either with other children or a teacher.

And a few of these cognitive leaps will happen when they listen or see stuff. Either to a teacher or to other children.

If children learn best by listening to a teacher, you wouldn't even need to send them to school. You could just keep them at home in front of a televised lesson.....

2BoysTooLoud Tue 20-Sep-11 13:39:10

My ds has improved with age re carpet time ie he can sit and concentrate on teacher rather than mess about / sit on person next to him.
[As for the 'cold ovaries' well how odd!!].

Lizcat Tue 20-Sep-11 13:39:40

It's more difficult and takes more time to get out from behind desks to use an interactive white board when learning with interactive games. At my DD's primary school there are times when they are (shock horror) actively encouraged to talk to each other about how to do things - peer learning.

aries12 Tue 20-Sep-11 13:45:55

Young children i.e 7 year olds need to be able to move around. Sitting on a chair all day every day is quite a demand for small children. I don't see why they can't move around, interact with others and learn collectively. Believe me it would be far easier for the teacher if they all sat silently in rows..alas the Victorian era is long gone...

CustardCake Tue 20-Sep-11 13:48:54

This is totally the normal set up in most schools. My DD has been sitting with her back to the teacher for 3 years in a row now. I don't think sitting in groups is a good idea either but I know I'm in the minority.
Interestingly and maybe besides the point is that we know people with kids and private schools and we know people who teach at private schools. By Year 2, all children are sat on separate desks and facing the front. They must think its a better way of doing things as this seems to be the norm for private schools in our area.

Sandalwood Tue 20-Sep-11 13:51:23

Crikey. I remember the cold ovaries one, now you mention it.

A change is as good as a rest - they can't sit at their desk all day long. It's good to move to somewhere different have fresh eyes and ears.

AMumInScotland Tue 20-Sep-11 13:54:37

Exams aren't taken in circles for obvious reasons - but do you really want to make a seven-year old's time in school feel like they are constantly sitting an exam? Constantly nervous, unable to communicate with their classmates, only yourself versus the system?

Even when I was at primary school (a long time ago now!) we didn't sit in neat rows facing the teacher at this age. We did at the top part of promary school, and in secondary school for "chalk and talk" parts of the class. But even then we broke up and worked in pairs or groups for parts of a lesson.

Your view of how education happens is more like Victorian times than the present, or even 35 years ago.

SuePurblybilt Tue 20-Sep-11 13:56:20

We were told our 'lady lilies' would get cold/hot when sitting on the radiators at Primary School. It was one dinner lady with an unfortunate turn of phrase and an obsession with undercarriages - she also used to chase us away from sitting on steps or wet-ish grass in case we got piles.

midnightexpress Tue 20-Sep-11 14:04:00

ROFL at 'ladylilies' grin

What the others said. Teachers don't sit them in groups for a laugh. I'm sure it would be much easier to sit them in rows, but the evidence suggests that the best way of developing active, collaborative learning skills is by sitting in groups.

blackeyedsusan Tue 20-Sep-11 14:31:28

they sit on the carpet so they can all see the board and the teacher can see them. this is when the teacher introduces a topic. the children then go and work at grouped tables, doing work that is appropriate for their ability. the teacher will work with one or two groups at this time and all the children need to be able to see the teacher. if the children sat in rows the teacher would not be able to spend as much time with children and it would be more difficult to differentiate.

sitting the childen at grouped tables also helps with classroom management, at a glance, the teacher will be able to see which children are working well and who needs help and who needs to be reminded to get on with the task in hand. if the teacher is spending lots of time walking up and down the rows, they are spending less time actually teaching.

midnightexpress Tue 20-Sep-11 14:41:22

In my children's school, they have various groups for different things too - one set of groups for general stuff, different groups for reading, for maths, learning partners, partners for ICT, etc, so it must be much easier to rearrange groups if they sit around tables or one the floor for various activities.

SuePurblybilt Tue 20-Sep-11 14:51:47

They also need carpet time for knee-scab picking, plaiting one another's hair and to keep up to date with how socks are being worn that term. wink

Most schools usually give them a carpet square or a cushion OP, if you're worried about the floor aspect.

littleducks Tue 20-Sep-11 14:52:38

I have a friend who dislikes her children sitting on the floor both at 'carpet time' and during wetplay when they have to sit on hall floor at lunchtime on wet days.

She is German and just does not understand the logic, she says in Germany the children have little chairs and sit on those.

My nieces and nephews used to complain the carpet was dirty at their school (I never saw it to judge but the children wore shoes on the carpet, which was alien to them as they always took shoes off on carpet at home)

My dd doesnt seem to care too much and comes home filthy blush.

I do think there is alot of movement in classrooms now, which may affect certainly seemed to on that 'undercover classroom' programme that was on recently.

Chandon Tue 20-Sep-11 14:59:34


littleducks, I saw that programme too.

I spent a lot of time with 7 year olds as a parent helper (reading with Y1 and Y2), and enjoyed it.

But I could not quite believe the ongoing movement in the classroom. some kids could not concentrate at all, and I couldn't blame them.

So Yanbu, but it seems to be "the fashion" right now.

I remember a programme about boarding school boys not long ago, who discussed in hushed tones the horror of state school, as they had heard that the poor state school children had to "sit on the floor, really!". That made me grin as it's a snobby attitude...but not untrue!

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