Stand and Deliver

standingdeskMost school systems don’t consider this, but the traditional school desks aren’t the only option for the classroom. More and more schools are looking into other alternatives which include standing desks, exercise balls for sitting and other choices.

The standing desk is quite an interesting option, as it allows children more movement and ability to get out their energy in the course of the day. These desks allow children to work at a work platform, but one that is their height. So, rather than sitting all day, they are standing behind the desk. Most people can’t use this all day, so it might be important to have a sitting option for the children as well. But by giving them both choices, they can really make themselves more comfortable and productive in the course of the day.

Exercise balls are also an interesting way to sit at a desk. They help to cushion the back and to allow for movement and the release of energy in the course of the day. Of course, they can be distracting and the child might find himself playing more than concentrating, but this is something that needs to be worked on and discussed.

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.

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,

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.