We know that the body was never designed to be static, so it’s surprising how many environments expect seated inactivity to be maintained for hours on end. Schools are perhaps the most surprising of all of these environments! Constant activity is a feature of childhood, and some schools are starting to take on board the simple equation: movement = more oxygen to the brain = more effective learning and concentration.
If, however, as is likely, our society is going to remain wedded for some time to the traditional ‘sitting and learning’ paradigm, then school desks and chairs have a vital role to play in both enriching the school environment, and mitigating posture-related problems.
After all, there’s no such thing as an ‘average’ 12-year-old, any more than there’s an average size or shape for an adult.
But – incorrectly-sized school furniture and rigid designs treat every child the same, and make no allowances for ‘active sitting.’
What’s the solution?
Firstly, simple height adjustments should be available on all school chairs and desks.
Secondly, the school chair should naturally follow the movement needs of the body – rocking, tilting, squirming – following and encouraging children’s natural behaviour.
Finally, the classroom should allow for working whilst standing, lying, kneeling – any posture a child can get into should be considered a good position for learning!
Experts on ergonomics, children and the educational environment believe that this is the best ratio: 50% (dynamic) sitting: 25% standing: 25% walking around/active learning/ activity breaks. At Healthy Home Office, we’d love to help start this revolution; please get in touch with ideas and encouragement!