It really does matter…
School design and furniture have come a long way since the advent of the first students desk in 1881 (John Loughlins Fashion Desk). Before this the children who did receive an education did so on plain wooden benches (ouch), seated at lecture tables or at home. However, as time progressed and focus on the importance of formal education began to increase more thought was put into the design of classroom environments and how they affect a pupils ability to learn, comprehend, retain information and progress in their studies. Several comprehensive studies have been conducted in the past two decades (and some even earlier) that link the design of schools and their classrooms to a students progress, one such study performed between September 2011 and June 2012 by the University of Salford found design affecting the academic growth of students by up to 25%. With such high numbers it only makes sense to carefully and seriously consider the effects of the products we put in our classrooms. Things like lighting, desks, tables, chairs, air quality, colors and more all play a role in creating an optimal learning environment.
One of the most agreed upon factors concerning design in schools is lighting. Light affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and I’m not just talking about giving us that “ready for the club” tan, it tells us when to sleep and wake-up, it can affect our mood and even raise or lower a persons blood pressure, pulse and respiration rate. Classrooms with a high level of natural light generally perform better than those that rely heavily or solely on artificial light sources as natural light contains can elevate mood and productivity. This doesn’t mean artificial light is to be shunned like the kid at camp who gives everyone lice, it is necessary when natural light is not adequate enough for classroom activities. By creating a list of your lighting needs you can provide tailored solutions for classrooms, science labs, cafeterias, libraries and offices. Regardless of whether a classroom uses natural or artificial light, a well lit class will generally perform better than a dim one, remember, bright lights=bright students (just don’t overdo it).
Furniture may be the largest contributing factor to a pupils academic success regarding design. Choices made in furniture selection can make or break a classroom (and in some cases your back), consider how the pieces will be arranged and if they can provide every student with a clear view of their teacher (optimal viewing range is within 12 feet) and also if the pieces are age appropriate, durable enough to withstand regular classroom use, from a reputable manufacturer and of course, in budget. One attribute that has become a topic of major concern is whether or not the products are “Green” which isn’t to say you should deck out your classroom in Hulk memorabilia (though it’s not a bad idea), it means the pieces are environmentally friendly. This can be achieved by using recycled materials in their production (either post-industrial or post-consumer) or by receiving GREENGUARD® certification, this means that the product is certified by the organization which set the standard for air quality in schools and will contribute to better indoor air quality. The ability to integrate technology is also important with more and more schools using tablets, laptops, charging stations and other devices rather than a simple chalkboard or textbooks (boring). Being able to run wires and cabling through tracts and not along ceilings or floors is not only more aesthetically pleasing but much more safe and like they say in shop class “Safety first”. For examples of GREENGUARD® products and thousands of other school furniture solutions visit http://www.Skutchi.com or call 1-888-993-3757.