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 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.