Students need to have flexible seating options.
For anyone who has completed a K-12 education, it’s highly likely that his/her least favorite part of the school day was sitting in a desk. And just sitting there. All day. Yet, when we consider the history of formal education, not much has changed when it comes to sitting at a desk. Over 150 years ago students were sitting at desks in one room schoolhouses. If you walk into a K-12 building today, you’ll likely still see students sitting in desks; however, research shows that children don’t perform their best when they’re sitting all day. So how do we address this issue? We need to take a holistic look at the research as well as investigate and implement new low-floor learning ideas to create future ready seating options for students.
Despite massive changes in 21st century technology and lifestyle, student-centered teaching and pedagogy evolution, K-12 classrooms today look and operate much the same as they did in the prior century. Teacher-centric, row and column classroom structure, and associated furniture types, still widely dominate, mirroring the oratory-based ideologies of over 4,000 years ago. Future-ready classroom design is now ready to move from concept to the classroom.
This fall, millions of K-12 and college students headed back to school amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Determining best practices for navigating this return has been challenging for administrators, teachers, students, and families alike. Design for in-person learning during a pandemic requires both flexibility and creativity. To that end, a number of manufacturers have developed innovative furniture and other classroom products to help K-12 school, colleges and universities quickly adapt to changing conditions and social distancing needs.
Our team does not endorse any one product or manufacturer. The following is an overview of some of the products we have found while helping our clients review available options. Many of these offer benefits not only for today’s continually evolving safety priorities, but also for adaptable learning spaces beyond the current pandemic realities.
When we think about interior design, we tend to focus on the visual aspects. Magazines, home improvement shows and retailers highlight “wow” spaces, focusing on the final touches and products deemed essential for beautiful results. Other aspects such as functionality, comfort, ergonomics, health or safety, are often an afterthought, if we consider them at all.