The Importance of Comfortable Work Environments

Bad Posture in School Can                Interfere with Learning

For children to succeed at school, it is important that they are educated in a comfortable work environment.  This means that the classroom chairs are of top quality (perhaps even ergonomically-friendly).  The classroom tables should be at the correct level for their height, and an emphasis put on the provision of quality school furniture.

According to Prakash Nair, President of Fielding/Nair International LLC and an award-winning architect, and his partner architect Randall Fielding, the company’s Principal, there are eight truths that should be upheld vis-à-vis student learning conditions.  Nair and Fielding believe:

a) Comfort matters – the more comfortable the student, the better they will work. Research on environmental design has shown the “positive effect comfort can have on learning, human productivity and creativity.” This leads to

b) There should be absolutely no discomfort for the student at school.

c) There is a link between breathing and learning and comfortable classroom chairs. The better the breathing, the better the learning.

d) Louder areas are NOT conducive to good learning.

e) School furniture should be designed small with children in mind. School furniture and their classrooms should be inviting for children, rather than spacious and overwhelming.

f) Even a café can be conducive to learning. Cafés are generally small and intimate and therefore can be a place of student creativity.

g) Make the outdoor spaces in the school comfortable. Outdoor spaces can expand the learning environment that started inside the classrooms. Finally,

h) Emotions play a role in comfort in classrooms.  As Nair concluded, “It is difficult to overemphasize the need to create environments where students can feel both secure and significant.”

If Nair and Fielding’s findings are followed by school design teams, students will end up with quality school furniture, comfortable computer tables and classroom tables and ergonomically-approved classroom chairs.  This will provide them with potentially the most comfortable work environments and the most successful learning experiences.

Quality Classroom Chairs

Yellow School Chairs at Rutgers University

One important factor in providing students a quality education is the design of school furniture. Having children sit on quality classroom chairs can enhance their level of education.  Schools focus on quality education, safety in schools and socialization.  Once the staff is in place, the school administration needs to look at how the school is designed, with a focus on the quality of the furniture in the school.

According to an article published in The New York Times in January, 2013 by Al Baker, this does not seem to be such a strong focal point of school administrations.  Indeed, quoted in this article was Wes Bradley, the principal of Thomas Nelson High School in Bardstown, Kentucky.  Bradley said that he doubted “many school districts had ever had a discussion about chairs.”  In the six years that Bradley taught in a high school in the Bronx, New York, he had never seen chairs like the thousand new ones that he put into his school’s 40 classrooms in August, 2012.  He described each of them as “a vessel of student sovereignty.”  He described them as “human-friendly, form to the body,” and that they come in “energizing colors.”

In the same NY Times article it was reported that “administrators who have used newer, more flexible or free-moving chairs say that children find their new seats more comfortable and that they seem more engaged. Few studies have been conducted on whether chairs affect student performance, though a four-year study of 400 students conducted by a German nonprofit devoted to ‘posture and mobilization support’ said children were able to concentrate for longer periods if they were given more mobile seats, combined with lesson plans that involved moving around.”