Classroom furniture plays a key role in how receptive students are, their overall performance in the classroom, and even in their health.
But the task of selecting the right furniture can be daunting. You’ve got to accommodate many different body types with ergonomic seating. You want it to be strong, to withstand students’ use. You want it to be stylish, so it won’t look outdated in just a few years. And you might even want it to be versatile, so you can change the arrangement and the learning materials as needed.
Take a deep breath. Choosing the perfect classroom furniture shouldn’t be stressful. We’ve got a few tips to help.
First, consider safety. Make sure the furniture is stable. Chairs shouldn’t easily tip back. Shelves shouldn’t pinch. If there are any moving parts, they should be lightweight and easy to maneuver, so fingers or hands won’t get stuck.
Find something durable. Year after year of students will put your classroom furniture through the wringer. Consider a solid laminate surface that cleans up easily, or something with sturdy aluminum frames. If you opt for wood, select a hard surface that resists scratching and doesn’t need polishing too often.
How flexible do you need the classroom furniture to be? Smaller tables with separate chairs are conducive to being rearranged as needed, and work well for younger children. However, the individual chairs may “wander” from their tables over time. Older students can usually handle larger workstations, especially if they’re meant to accommodate electronics. Consider something with a built-in plug so cords won’t be stretched across the classroom.
Of course, you want your furniture to be ergonomic for every student. That can be a tall order, since students come in all shapes and sizes. Chairs with adjustable heights can go a long way toward enhancing ergonomics, ensuring that legs get enough circulation and arms are held in healthy, neutral positions.
Before you even start looking at classroom furniture, make a few decisions about what you want. That should narrow your options and reduce your stress considerably.