How many times have you heard an adult, while watching a playground full of children say something like “if only I had that type of energy”, or “stamina like that is wasted on the young”. Simply by watching children it is easy to see that constant movement is normal for them, and it is something that makes them happy.
Conversely, looking into most modern day elementary school classrooms, you will find that there is little inside of the classroom to encourage movement and activity. Chairs are hard with four legs, desks are stationary, adjustable tables are lacking; and activity centers are built to stay in place.
According to a recent study in the U.K., design elements in the childhood classroom can have a large effect, up to 25%, on the progress students are able to make. Many studies have been done on how to make classrooms more effective, but few have reached such a high percentage of increase. There have been studies on lighting, sound, even smell in relation to ability to learn, but this study on classroom design seems to have yielded the highest percentage of progress. Here are some new innovations in classroom design that may be worth looking into.
Ergonomic student chairs
The typical student chair is made of hard molded plastic and has four stationary legs. Teachers will be the first to agree that many students do not sit comfortably in these chairs. Students squirm, wiggle, and tip the chairs back onto two legs in an effort to sit more comfortable. New ergonomic classroom chairs are being used in some classrooms today. They allow students a greater range of movement, height adjustment, as well as the ability to tilt the seat forward and back. Teachers in these classrooms are already seeing a measurable increase in student attitudes and success rates.
Contemporary early childhood classrooms feature furniture built with a “one size fits all” theme. This is a flawed simply because children are not all the same size and shape. By investing in height adjustable tables, a school is willing to put forth extra effort for the comfort of each child, instead of just the average height child. Another benefit of these tables is that they lend themselves to being used by children in a variety of positions, from sitting on the floor, using the shortened table for a craft activity to standing and using the table to construct an art project. Changing positions through the day is an ideal way to use extra child energy and enhance focus
Beanbag chairs have often been associated with family rooms and television sets. Now, however some classroom teachers have decided to invest in these comfortable malleable seats for their students. Teachers still use classroom desks and chairs for needed tasks, but are finding that many classroom tasks can be more easily accomplished from these seats. One teacher reports that by moving a spelling test to beanbag chairs, students had fewer complaints about taking the test, and spelling scores improved overall.
Some of the most effective elementary school teachers have long realized the need for uniquely creative classrooms that will draw the interest and participation of their students. By investing in ergonomic classroom furniture, they may be able to have even more of an effect on how well their students are able to learn.
Ella Gray is a homemaker who loves her dogs, her home and her health. Please feel free to email her with any questions regarding any questions you may have at [email protected]
[toggle title=”Featured images”]