The Importance of Seating Ergonomics
The Importance of Seating Ergonomics
Students sit in thousands of different positions. Upright, slouched, twisted, tilted, straddling their seats. They stretch out their legs, sit on them, cross them, bounce them. They balance on the front of their chair or precariously teeter on the back.
This presents big questions for those who design classroom furniture and those who buy it. Given the highly individualized nature of sitting, how can a single chair design work for an entire classroom? Second, how can that chair improve learning, meet ergonomic standards, and keep kids comfortable? The answer is in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. Before your school invests, here’s some good background information to be aware of.
According to some within the ergonomics research community, sitting is complicated.
• Physical Stress. The consequences of using classroom furniture that doesn’t meet acceptable ergonomic standards include very real physical symptoms. Typically, conventional chairs have had a rigid seat that inclines backwards and merges into a seating hollow. This design can cause lack of blood circulation; rounding of the back; tense shoulders, neck and back muscles; constricted digestive organs, and spinal cord pressure.
• Educational Drawbacks. It’s well documented that ergonomically poor classroom furniture also impacts cognitive ergonomics, i.e., how our minds work and other mental processes. Examples include lack of attention, poor concentration, poor memory and lowered achievement levels. Obviously, this also impacts teachers, administrators, parents, etc.
What ergonomics matter most?
Ideally, schools would have chairs ergonomically designed and custom-made for every student. Given how unrealistic and expensive that is, here are some ways administrators can get the most ergonomic bang for their buck. We offer very competitively priced chairs on our website.
1. Right Size
Classroom seating should support healthy posture from a young age, especially since young bodies are developing rapidly. It should also decrease fidgeting. Ideally, students should be able to sit with their feet firmly planted on the floor and their backs against their chairs.
2. Right Fit/Adjustable
It’s not enough to provide a buffet of chairs, desks and tables and let students randomly choose. It’s essential to ensure that chairs are properly scaled to fit the size of the individual student. A chair should fit the person who sits in it.
We offer chairs to meet the needs of small, big and tall kids. Our classroom furniture is available in a wide range of heights and sizes.
3. Seating that Moves
The most notable advancement in classroom seating is seating that moves. Designers and engineers now understand how various degrees of movement, rather than rigidity, of the chair itself can promote learning. We also offer chairs that use a gas lift to go up or down and are also available on casters to encourage movement. Just click here to check them out.
While ergonomics is essential, classroom seating must fit functionality. In other words, it has to complement the curriculum. Because 21st Century learning often takes place in groups numbering from two to six students, classroom furniture must be nimble enough to be configurable into groups. To cater for this need we offer moulded stackable stools that can be found by clicking here.
Classrooms have become active learning environments. This requires portable (in weight and design) chairs that students of all ages can quickly and easily move, arrange, stack and store.
Today, the smartest chairs are ergonomically designed to adjust in size, provide the right fit, move with a student, and enhance curriculum.
All of our products are specifically designed with comfort and durability in mind. We know that school furniture needs to support children, improve their posture and endure the demanding environments of classrooms. This is why our seating comes in up to six different seat heights to suit several different age groups.
Our seating ranges have ergonomically designed back angles to promote a positive S shaped spine, which reduces the risk of lower back pain. It is also independently tested to conform to the latest British Standards for ergonomics, strength and stability.