Sitting Correctly at School

chairToday, children sit in their school chairs for hours and hours each day. This should be cause for concern for parents and teachers, as children aren’t necessarily learning how to sit correctly. And this can have an impact on their bodies and their health.

Slouching in your chair at school is very bad for your back. It distorts your spine into a “C” shape that can be unhealthy for you and your back. This puts pressure on your intervertebral discs and this can contribute to back pain and to discomfort.

What’s the way to sit better? First, we need to teach students to sit back in their chairs. Their backs should make full contact with the backrest. This supports your spine and helps children to receive the full benefits of the work chair. It’s important, as well, to have the right type of chair to help with ergonomics.

Ergonomics as Practiced at UCLA

Ergonomics as Practiced at UCLA

Ergonomic Design Can Contribute to Productivity

The UCLA Ergonomics Program is a unique and creative program which offers “ergo-friendly” solutions to a large number of work-related issues. The goal of the program is to help make the work that people do a better fit so that workers are more comfortable, safer, and ultimately working in a more efficient way.

There are four steps recommended by the UCLA Ergonomics Program when a new employee first begins to work at his computer table. Step one is to select an appropriate chair. Work tasks, body size and shape should all be considered when choosing a chair. Be sure that you spine is most comfortable when it is in a “neutral posture” while sitting in the chair.

The second step is selecting an ergonomic keyboard. Articulating keyboard trays can be a good solution, providing optimal positioning of input devices. Make sure the tray does not force you to be too far away from your other work materials, like your telephone.

Making sure that your screen, documents and telephone are well positioned is the third step to an ergonomically healthy workstation. Always be sure that your neck is always in a neutral and relaxed position. Here are suggestions as to how to place your monitor so it works best for you.

•    Position your monitor directly in front of you and above your keyboard.
•    Center the top of the monitor approximately 2-3” above your eye level when seated. (If you wear bifocals, take care to lower the monitor to a comfortable reading level.)
•    Be sure to sit at least an arm’s length away from the screen and then adjust the distance for your vision.
•    Take care to reduce glare by carefully positioning the screen.
•    Place the screen at right angles to windows
•    Remember to adjust the curtains or blinds as needed
•    Place the vertical screen angle and screen controls in such a way so that the glare from overhead lights is minimized
•    Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help.
•    Use a headset or speaker phone to eliminate cradling the handset.

Step four: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Even with a close to perfect work environment it is still crucial to move around during the day. Lengthy postures that keep the body still for long periods of time are harmful, inhibiting blood circulation, taking a toll on the body. Here are some suggestions on how to keep the body moving during the long work day:

•    Every twenty minutes or so be sure to take a 1-2 minute stretch break. After an hour of work, take another break, changing your task for at least 5-10 minutes. It is helpful to move away from your computer desk during lunch.
•    You can get relief from eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes from time to time. Look away from the monitor and focus on something else further away.
•    Give your eyes a break. Cover them with your palms for about 10-15 seconds every so often.
•    Always be aware of your posture while working, and keep it correct. And try to keep moving.

School Ergonomics and Its Benefits

School Ergonomics and Its Benefits

Learning is Enhanced in a Comfortable Environment

Many people don’t think about ergonomics when they consider their school furniture choices.  They just buy the furniture that will fit in the classroom and that might be the least expensive. Thinking about ergonomics, however, is very important. The school chairs that student use can make a big difference in their comfort level and their ability to focus. The school desks, as well, allow the kids to be organized and ready for their day – or to feel cramped and uncomfortable.

It’s certainly worthwhile, if a school is starting out with new furniture, to have these ideas in mind and to think about these considerations. The ergonomics in the school environment are very important and can make quite a difference in the learning environment.


The Ergonomics of School Chairs

The Ergonomics of School Chairs

Well Designed School Chairs Can Make Learning Fun

In England there exist laws which govern the size of the desks and chairs that teachers receive to insure that the chairs are comfortable and ergonomically sound. Unfortunately when it comes to students, the school desk and chairs have no such requirement. Therefore school desks and chairs are often chosen for their low cost, rather than for their level of comfort.

Over the years the ergonomics of school furniture has become more important, not less, as children spend longer periods of time at their desks and in front of computers in school.

Former English education secretary Charles Clarke reported for the British Educational Suppliers Association on what his research showed was the serious need to improve the education of Britain’s children. The report stated that, “Sitting for extended periods on chairs that are of inappropriate size and that lack ergonomic design and at classroom desks or tables whose height relative to the chair is incorrect and will be uncomfortable” will diminish students’ ability to learn.  Furthermore, “The Back Pain Association is convinced that schools are a significant source of back problems.”

The report also stated that schools did not pay much attention to the ergonomic factor when choosing school furniture like classroom chairs. Rather, the motivating factor for picking student furniture was the “lowest unit price.”

Not only do children sit in their school chairs longer than they did in the past, but students are also not the same size they were in the 1960s, when much of today’s school furniture was designed. In the past 50 years children are actually taller, on average, than they were in the 60s.

The report urged ministers to have schools utilize adjustable furniture in the new schools that are now under construction under England’s school rebuilding program.

Classroom Chairs and Learning Ability

Ergonomic classroom chairs can enhance learning
Ergonomic classroom chairs enhance learning

Numerous studies have revealed that school furniture has a tremendous impact on children’s learning abilities. School chairs, for example, can help a child focus by providing comfortable seating. However, if the chair or school desk is poorly designed or constructed, they can inhibit a child’s productivity by distracting them with pain or discomfort.

Classrooms can contribute greatly to a child’s learning in other ways as well. Bright colors and clean designs can help a child focus his or her energy, as can engaging, colorful imagery and diagrams.

Classroom Ergonomics

The striking and innovative design of this Junior High School has outward-looking classrooms

Today, since many classrooms rely on computers as an educational tool, it is important to think about how to set up the classroom with this in mind.  In recent times, ergonomic computer equipment (computer chairs, computer tables, keyboards, mice, etc.), has developed into a huge industry.  As well as ensuring the classroom is fitted out with the best equipment, ergonomists look at how the design of equipment and environments can limit exertion and fatigue.  In other words, classroom ergonomics seeks to make the student as comfortable as possible while learning.

It is important for schools to consider the topic of ergonomics when purchasing school furniture.  Doing so can be beneficial for the students in the long-term since they are likely to be engaging in technology for the rest of their lives.  If children are fitted with the correct, ergonomically-enhanced equipment from a young age, then they are more likely to fare better later on in life too.

Thus, when looking at school computer equipment, parents and teachers should focus on computer monitors, mice and keyboards.  They should seek those that limit wear-and-tear on wrists and encourage children to sit upright, eye level on the monitor.  Curved and split keyboards are good; ergonomic roller balls, curved mice and wireless mice are also good.  Vis-à-vis the monitors, the flat paneled ones reduce eye strain and use less space.  They should then be positioned with a tilt, ensuring the top part of the screen is at eye level.

These are just a few examples of how to make a classroom fitted with computers as ergonomic and user-friendly as possible.

Can a Classroom Paint Job Impact Your School’s Test Scores?

Colorful Classroom

What do celebrities, politicians and lawyers have in common?

They all spend a great deal of time and money considering what they wear and how they present themselves.

Hotels, restaurants, banks and other businesses also put considerable thought into their color choices and décor. Research has shown that colors actually impact performance, which is why image consulting has become much more than a cottage industry in both Hollywood and Washington DC. Color is important – and it especially essential in our classrooms, just like classroom furniture.

Similar to other stimulants such as scent or sound, colors communicate with the brain directly.  The mind and body react to them on an instinctive, subconscious level. Therefore, color choices can transform the school and influence learning in numerous ways. The majority of classrooms and cafeterias in America have drab white walls and colorless tile floors. Why do we insist on preserving such an outdated model? Imagine more colorful cafeterias and cafeteria tables? It would be awesome.

Numerous studies have researched the impact of different colors on our brains. The results can contribute greatly to a wide range of learning environments including classrooms, laboratories and other facilities.

Creating a Healthy School Environment

Create a Healthy School Environment

All children need a positive, calm environment.  This is true for both the home and the school.  As soon as a child feels overwhelmed, there is a strong chance they will feel like they cannot cope and this is when they potentially become a danger to themselves and the other students.  It is thus the role of school administrators to ensure the physicality of the school is as comfortable as possible.

One way of doing this is by creating a pleasant, inviting, environment.  Purchasing quality school furniture (school desks, school chairs, etc.); making the playground area inviting (maybe with little corners for groups to congregate when they want to chat privately); and ensuring that the lighting is appropriate for study.School Furniture, School Desks, School Chairs, Ergonomics,

Defining Space & Changing Behavior with Color

School Color Plans                     Increase School Pride

Color choices in the classroom can have a large impact on student behavior and interaction, according to recent studies. Schools that have implemented color plans have found an increase in school pride as well as a decrease in both absenteeism and vandalism when compared to classes with only white walls.

As Dr. Willard R. Dagget, Jeffrey E. Cobble and Steven J. Gertel found, color can decrease problems with disruptive behavior and aggression by soothing students with calming blues and similar hues. Color choices also help to create order and procedure in classrooms. They can define spaces and illustrate where students should walk, which doors they should enter, and which sections of the room are designated for various activities.

Similarly, school furniture can have a dramatic impact on student behavior. Comfortable desks and chairs will help students stay focused and relaxed during their lessons without distracting them with cramps or aches.