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.
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.
School and church furniture serve many functions. Firstly, they provide students and congregants with places to sit and focus on school work and prayer while remaining comfortable and undistracted. However, furniture is evolving now to enhance the learning environment and ability to concentrate in other ways.
Chairs and desks come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Researchers have been studying the effects of different features on people’s learning abilities and productivity. Bright color and unique shapes promote creativity and confidence in a classroom and in church, as do certain desk designs, wall colors, podiums and classroom layouts.
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.