Classroom Furniture: 6 Questions Worth Pondering
The quest to continually improve the modern classroom is a worthy endeavor. Back-to-School will be here before you know it! Teachers might want to ponder these 6 questions about classroom furniture and design before it sneaks up:
- Does your classroom’s layout support all learning styles?
- What kind of seating choices are you offering? Do they support comfort and health?
- Is your classroom furniture easy to move around?
- Is classroom furniture multi-functional?
- Does your classroom furniture allow for traffic to flow?
- Is each piece of furniture essential? Would any of the first 5 questions be enhanced by removing a piece of furniture completely?
Supporting All Learning Styles
Today’s classrooms should promote different learning styles. Some children thrive in classrooms that incorporate project-based learning. Some love to collaborate on projects while others prefer to work independently. Regardless of how children prefer to learn, it’s important to remember some children need to be encouraged to work outside their comfort zone sometimes. Children who prefer to work individually often benefit the most from group activities since they are learning to be part of a team during each lesson.
How can your classroom be redesigned to impact different learning experiences?
Consider how children learn when deciding on a layout. Auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners all need to be taken into account. Position the teacher in the center of the room. This creates a classroom where every child is equally close to the teacher so every child can hear directions and stay engaged. When the teacher is located at one end of the room, by default, some kids will be closer to the teacher than others.
Flexible Seating Options
Flexible seating options are often broken down into three basic levels: floor height, desk-table height, and standing height. Also, teachers should consider if seating will be geared towards individual learning or collaborative?
Teachers may consider the convenience stackable chairs provide to classrooms. Available in 5”, 7”, 9”, 11”, and 13” seat heights, our Value Stack Chairs allow teachers to stack all sizes together into one stack. When it’s time to clear a room for a completely different activity, it’s nice to have chairs that will stack together so they don’t take up too much space.
Our Square Sit-Upons and Round Sit Arounds in primary colors provide a comfy, cushy floor-level cushion that is also easy to move. Kids (in most cases) will have no problem helping teachers and caregivers carry lightweight cushions to a new flex-space for their next lesson.
Floor cushions are a perfect option for any size classroom, daycare, or preschool.
Mobility used to be a buzzword but has become the new normal. Teachers love to redesign spaces. It provides kids with a fresh environment to reinvigorate their excitement about learning new things. Furniture with casters makes the process easy.
Mobile furniture also allows teachers to stay organized and tote teaching aids with them as they move from flex-space to flex-space.
Our 5-Roll Paper Rack rolls on 5 locking casters. Teachers will never run out of construction paper for arts and crafts projects. Roll it from space to space with minimal effort. Lock the casters in place to ensure kiddos are safe.
The Neptune Table with Lid is both multi-functional and mobile. 4 casters (2 locking) facilitate moving this table when needed. The included lid keeps contents clean between uses and allows you to use it as an activity table for arts & crafts projects, homework, or any other activity.
Have you ever found yourself asking the question, “Do I even need this piece of furniture?” Occasionally, teachers inherit furniture and then feel guilty getting rid of it. Why do teachers feel guilty about changing the furniture in their space? Teachers regularly update wall art and displays. Is furniture any different?
The educational market keeps pivoting to accommodate how kids learn. 30 years ago, teachers still stood in the front of a room with students seated at individual desks. Today we know students learn in a variety of different ways. Furniture should provide every student with different learning opportunities. Children need to learn in their best environment, but they also need to learn to stretch. This is how kids develop skills they may be lacking.
Functionality of furniture is changing. Children’s Factory® focuses on keeping the FUN in the center of our furniture’s FUNctionality. Depending on the age of children, other factors to consider:
- Is this furniture multi-use? Will it be easy to transform it into a new space later?
Our Red Rocker/Toddler Bridge serves many purposes. Originally designed as a bridge for toddlers to work on balance and coordination, when flipped upside down, it becomes a teeter totter to continue building core muscles and gross motor skills.
Influencer @scanlonfamilyfarm recently used the Red Rocker as a puppet show theater. Children’s Factory loves to see parents and schools thinking outside the box to get more FUNction out of their investments.
Similarly, our Edutray quickly transforms the Cube Chair into a chair with a desk-type work surface. When kids finish projects, the Edutray easily collapses to convert the desk back into a chair.
- Where will kids store their personal items?
When kids have a designated place to store their backpacks, coats, lunches, and other classroom essentials, teachers will spend less time helping them search for lost items. A Value Line™ Toddler 5-Section Locker provides kids with their own storage space equipped with hooks for coats and backpacks, as well as cubbies for shoes or lunches.
Teaching kids the importance of keeping spaces organized and tidy is a lesson in and of itself. It also enhances classroom safety when potential tripping hazards are removed from the floor.
Flow Fuels Creativity & Learning
Flow in classrooms can become clogged when furniture is not optimally positioned. Teachers may need to consider what furniture it completely necessary as well as whether a space might flow better. Removing a piece of furniture that is unnecessary might be the best option in tight spaces.
Angeles®’s Value Line™ Narrow 2-Shelf Storage is perfect for increasing flow. At only 12” deep, this piece of furniture will fit almost anywhere, including hallways. So before assuming you cannot do without storage solutions, maybe it’s time to assess whether more petite storage solutions can be exchanged for larger ones.
For example, a reading nook is a place that can often become clogged. As teachers direct children to find a book for quiet reading time, they often crowd around where books are displayed. When teachers spread the books out more effectively, it often disperses kids around the room while they select books. To learn more about how to keep traffic flowing, visit Big Solutions for Maximizing Small Classrooms.
Bringing New Life to Learning
Creating specific, modern, learning spaces often requires investing in furniture designed specifically for that space. Tinker spaces, wonder shelves, and makerspaces provide the perfect examples. The educational sector believes these spaces offer kids a safe place to, for lack of a better term, tinker. Not all creative thinking occurs during traditional art projects. This space encourages kids to manipulate objects which is pivotal for kinesthetic learning. This space reveals to kids the inner workings of objects as well as the requirements for building functional objects. If a craft room and a completely outfitted garage had a baby – it would be a makerspace or a tinker space. (And these spaces often have many wonder shelves!) Regardless of what you call this space, new learning skills develop in spaces like this one.
Back-to-School Is Coming Soon!
Back-to-school is close at hand. Now might be the best time to start reflecting upon these 6 questions. There is still plenty of time to purge the unnecessary pieces and begin creating a fresh and FUNctional space. Which piece do you think will be the first to go?