Finding the Right Fit for Every Child Who Uses a Standing Desk
While the benefits of standing apply to virtually every child, not all standing desks are created equal. The wrong desk can negative consequences, from poor ergonomics to classroom disruption. Look for classroom desks that combine easy adjustability with practical features for organization, group work, and storage.
The single most important element to success is height-adjustability. Fixed-height standing desks do not take into account the wide range of sizes of children, forcing some kids to hunch over their work while others strain to reach it. Additionally, experts acknowledge that some classroom tasks like testing and writing may be performed better when seated. High stools used with fixed-height desks provide no back support and lead to poor posture and fatigue.
It’s equally important that the adjustability of the desk not cause disruption to the class. Today’s best quality sit/stand desks feature silent pneumatic lifts that children can operate themselves. Students quickly adapt to a classroom norm where they can stand or sit as their bodies require, gaining important skills of independence and self-regulation in the process.
Practical Features that Make All the Difference
New classroom desks represent a significant investment, so it makes sense to look for features that will support all classroom functions for years to come. In considering options, keep in mind these vital design elements:
- Storage and Organization: Sit/stand desks do not have to sacrifice the storage available in traditional desks. Forward-looking manufacturers include compartments designed to hold school supplies, preferably with defined spaces for Chromebooks, notebooks, and pencils.
- Mobility: Durable, locking casters allow kids to help teachers re-set arrangements at a moment’s notice for group projects, presentations, and other activities.
- Durability and Stability: Classroom furniture inevitably takes abuse, so high-quality materials and construction will make or break the success of the desks in action. Look for a sturdy steel base – one that won’t tip over when a student leans too hard, durable work surface, and substantial handles for moving parts.
- Reputation: It’s true that good quality sit/stand desks cost more than tradition desks. Protect the investment by dealing with a reputable manufacturer that stands behind its product with a strong warranty.
Tags: standing desk, height-adjustability, classroom desk, durable desk, mobile student desk
Sit-to-Stand Desks – Transforming Classrooms for Better Learning and Health
In the last few years, standing desks have gone from being a novelty to a ubiquitous presence in offices worldwide. This dramatic trend is also finding its way into the classroom, as researchers discover the significant benefits of encouraging children to spend more time standing and moving in school.
Children have always exhibited a primal need to move around in class, whether by fidgeting, frequent requests to use the restroom, or other disruptive behaviors. Experts believe that standing can channel that need for movement, helping children focus in class and avoiding the tendency to zone out after long periods of sitting.
“Movement-friendly desks offer great benefits for all children, especially those with learning difficulties,” says Jonathan D. Carroll, M.A., who specializes in advocacy and educational consulting for children with ADD, ADHD, and executive functioning. “Standing up helps children access working memory, improving concentration and engagement. By allowing children to self-regulate when they choose to stand, adjustable desks promote independence and responsibility.”
In addition, standing helps battle the epidemic of childhood obesity. Children in the US lead increasingly sedentary lives, both in school and at home, and that inactivity has contributed to shocking rises in the number of overweight and obese kids. Standing fights that trend in two ways: by burning more calories while in school and by breaking the cycle of continuous sitting. Kids who move in healthy ways during the school day or more likely to continue those good habits at home.
Sit/stand height adjustable desks are the best way to achieve these vital goals. Top-quality sit/stand desks can be set at the height that works best for the individual child, ensuring good posture and comfort. Desks that are easily adjusted accommodate changing needs, allowing children to stand for some activities and sit for others. The best desks can be adjusted students themselves without assistance, preventing classroom interruptions and making the transition from sitting to standing an accepted part of the class’s routine. Look for desks that adjust silently without the need for power sources; pneumatic lifts are a versatile option.
The classroom of the future has arrived, where non-disruptive movement is embraced as a way to enhance children’s learning and health. Schools that provide sit/stand furniture options will see positive results, so long as they make choices that support the varying needs of all children.
How One Child’s Struggle Inspired the Focus Desk Innovation
For Nancy Dellamore’s young son, sitting still just wasn’t an option. At the age of seven, Nancy’s son was diagnosed with dyslexia. The condition manifested itself partly in nervous energy that could only be released by physical movement. In school, his legs moved frequently, and the stress of trying to stop the restlessness only made it worse. Nancy was shocked to visit his classroom one day and see her son physically strapped into his desk with an assortment of makeshift seat belts.
“It was heartbreaking, and surreal,” she remembers. “He was trying so hard to meet his teacher’s expectations, but he couldn’t fit the mold they were forcing him into. He needed a setting where he could move when necessary, in ways that wouldn’t disrupt the class.”
The family found a solution when they enrolled their son in the Hyde Park Day in Northfield, IL. The school’s director, Casey Crnich, understood the needs of children with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, dyslexia, and other conditions to release energy through movement. The school’s faculty accommodated those needs whenever necessary.
Achieving those accommodations was very difficult with traditional classroom furniture. Old-fashioned adjustable desks required adult help and special tools to change heights. A few standing desks were placed at the back of the room, but a child would need to collect all of his materials and walk through the class in order to satisfy his need to stand. As a result, the classroom environment was frequently interrupted and students felt self-conscious about using the alternative desks.
As a Product Manager for The Marvel Group, a Chicago-based designer and manufacturer of office furniture, Nancy saw an opportunity. Marvel design professionals partnered with Hyde Park teachers and students to create a dream desk that would fulfill all their needs.
“We had no preconceived notions of what the desk would look like in the end,” remembers Crnich of the initial discussions. “We passed out blank sheets of paper and had everyone brainstorm about the features and functions they wanted. Then Marvel developed prototypes that everyone had the chance to try out for at least a week, and they used our feedback to improve the design.”
The resulting desk, branded as The Focus Desk™, emphasizes adaptability, organization, and ease of operation, with an overarching goal of promoting student independence. The most dramatic feature is the height-adjusting FeatherTouch™ lift mechanism, a silent lift that a child can easily operate without help whenever the urge to stand arises. The Focus Desk also features attached color-coded hanging files to keep papers organized, rolling casters to make seating rearrangements easy, dedicated storage areas, and foldaway carrel walls for test taking and quiet study.
“This product is a complete re-imagining of what a desk can do,” notes Dellamore. “It empowers the child to stay organized and to self-regulate when an adjustment is required. We’re giving students the tools they need to self-advocate and move forward.”