Furniture in the classroom can enhance or diminish the learning environment. Classroom furniture must be arranged in such a way that the teacher is visible and audible to every child in the classroom. In playschools, the children are supposed to be mobile in the classroom and play outdoors for a comparable amount of time. In elementary schools, there are students who are learning to be sedentary and concentrate on instructions being given by the teacher. School furniture must be appropriately designed for the age and the stage of physical development of the children constituting the class.
The influence of the teacher on the students is subtle and it must be ensured that the design of the furniture does not diminish the attention of the child by discomfort or restricted freedom of movement. The choice of correct furniture for early schooling i.e. preschools and elementary schools becomes extremely important in this regard.
Children in early developmental stages learn not just from their teacher but also from the environs composed by the surrounding space and its configuration. The classroom’s furniture is integral for the creation of an environment for the children to imbibe learning and discover the nature and utility of the material that surrounds them and achieve physical and mental independence in the process.
For a three or five year old child being sedentary and concentrating is a new experience. Sitting attentively at a stretch of half an hour is something to be acquired, it does not come natural. Classroom furniture is instrumental for learning to take interest in verbal and non- verbal information while being stationary. It is only rational to expect then that the furniture, the work table, chair or the bench are comfortable and safe inasmuch as they become extensions of the child’s body. The chair that lets the child place his or her feet on the ground beneath and a shared bench which let him or her move without inconveniencing the one sitting next. And the table which is spacious enough to let him spread paper or material while he or she engages creatively with them are requisite for designing a creative learning environment. Single sitter Desk and Chair, Double sitter Desk and Chair, Learner Desk and Chair, Genius Double sitter are ideal for creating a perfect and collaborative learning space in preschools and elementary schools.
These furniture sets are designed to accommodate the children as best as possible while sitting and listening as well as while working with their hands. There are lot of indoor activities in which children are required to move their arms and bodies around. The furniture selected for the playschools and elementary schools must provide for that in their design and size. The floor must be within the reach of the child’s feet for increased stability. Dangling feet inhibit concentration of the children and make it hard to conduct activities. The posture of children is an important consideration. The furniture must support the back well. The adjustability of the furniture especially the chairs must be given premium as there are children of different heights in a single classroom. The arrangement of the chairs or benches of the children must not hamper the movement of the teacher in the preschool and elementary classrooms as the teacher is required to
Well shaped square tables, rectangular table, round table are ideal for elementary schools and uniquely shaped tables like Apple shaped tables go beautifully with the preschool environment.
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The learning space which is primarily structured by the furniture is followed by other furnishings. Stuffing the classroom results in stifling congestion and poorly selected furniture for preschools and elementary schools end up in a classroom with chairs that are either too small or too big for the child. The furniture should be selected keeping in mind the curriculum and the classroom activity it entails. There should be absolutely no room for tables that shake when the child is learning to write his first letter or structuring his first sentence.
Attention must be paid to the texture and color of the furniture, the designs the borders etc. The sitting arrangement in the group activities or lunch must be kept in mind while selecting furniture for the early classrooms which are the places of pleasant exploration.
Fixtures must be avoided in the preschools/playschool, day-care and elementary schools. The furniture must be movable and even portable. When the arrangements for a group activity, music activity, and games are to be made single piece pleasantly colored plastic chairs, round tables with chairs, square tables, rectangular spacious tables are needed.
Keeping the child psychology in the developmental stages which is very responsive to the subtle changes in the environment, it is preferable to use different colors and designs, and of course sizes, for higher classes to which the child graduates. Sr. Desk and Chair set can be used in the senior classes of elementary schools.
The classroom furniture for preschools and elementary schools must be selected keeping in mind that the strength of the class may vary frequently. To accommodate more children without compromising with the curricular activities it is best to equip the class with composite table sets like Little Fingers Desk and Chair, Maestro Desk and Chair. Preschools can also opt for Plastic Handle Chair to accommodate growing number of children.
Besides the furniture of the classroom, there are also other furnishings which are not to be considered superfluous. We are talking about the storage facilities. The children may be able to keep their artwork, toys, material etc. if a Book Shelf is provided. The day-care and preschools also require furniture that includes Children’s Cot.
Commissioning furniture for preschools and elementary schools must be done with precision and after considering the recommended curriculum of Montessori schools and Waldorf schools. If that is done the pre-schooling will become extremely purposeful and elementary schooling will become the foundation to reckon with.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.