One of the talks I most often quote was heard at a children’s ministry conference quite a few years back. The biggest reason I quote it is because it gives a concise argument against chairs in the teaching area. So many people seem to learn this late and yet it’s such a simple way to make possibly a big difference….
“One more practical activity for boys, get rid of the chairs in our classrooms. Chairs are a relatively new invention and for children chairs can be annihilating. For example, did you know that when you sit in a chair, especially as a young person, and you’re trying to see what’s happening in the rest of the room, it causes poor breathing, it causes strain on your spinal column and lower back nerves, it puts pressure on your back that is 30% stronger than when you are actually standing up, it causes poor eye sight because you’re leaning forward to see what’s happening, it causes overall body fatigue… are you feeling terrible? A lot of our boys are expending more energy trying to sit still and behave than they are trying to learn about the Jesus stuff – and that’s a crying shame. Boy’s need to move, so do girls, but boys often more than girls, the risk to them is higher. So if the powers that be go by your Sunday School classroom and see the kids stretched out on pillows and beanbag chairs, listening to the story of Jesus and they think this is sacrilegious… tell them what our kids need, teach kids the way God made them, not the way we wish he had made them and not the way we used to think he made them.” (it was the key speaker in 2006 i think, but i’m not sure of the womans name)
Whenever I work with children, and even young teens I always chose to sit on the floor, and health allowing I always encourage the leaders to be the first ones sitting down. The space lets them fidget more, it boxes them in less, gives you a huge work area, and generally levels the playing field a bit more. We are fortunate to have a few scatter cushions in the room we use, I generally place them in a circle on the floor and the youngsters each sit on one.