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Probably the most crucial tasks school administrators face is establishing a positive atmosphere for learning, and school furniture plays a significant role in the way a college feels and looks to the students learning within its walls. Classrooms which are cheerful and bright encourage an even more positive chance to learn than ones which are colorless and drab.
However, school furniture that is too colorful and busy can in fact present a distraction to students. Besides aesthetics, comfort, size, space, durability and - don't forget - budget, are all factors that should be taken into consideration when planning furniture for schools. Whether you're designing a brand new school or upgrading a mature one, the classroom furniture you choose have a decisive effect on the way students feel about their studies.
Have a Seat! Studies show that students between 13-18 years old spend about 78% of their time sitting down. But the truth is that even preschoolers spend a great deal of amount of time in their chairs. So lots of thought needs to go in to choosing the best school chair for the classrooms.
Say What? Just a little Terminology... First, just a little school furniture terminology to make things clear.
School chair seats are produced out of one of three materials: wood, soft plastic and difficult plastic. Wood means just that, wood. Soft plastic is the colloquial reputation for polyethylene and polypropylene. Polyethylene provides extensive give; polypropylene, while not actually bendable, does conform somewhat to ensure that students can lean back a bit in their chairs. Plastic is much more rigid than its soft counterpart and has no bend whatsoever.
The legs and supports of faculty chairs are often made of one of three gauges of steel: 18, 16, and 14 gauge. Contrary to what one might assume, the low the gauge the stronger the steel, so if you're looking for the strongest supports around, you'd search for chairs with 14 gauge steel.
Down to Size - How High Should School Chairs Be? Ideally, children should be able to plant their feet firmly on the floor even when sitting using their backs against their chairs. This position minimizes fidgeting and offers proper back support. Practically speaking, there'll always be some children whose feet dangle when they sit all the way back, or who will need to lean forward if they want their feet to achieve the floor. When measuring school chairs, the peak is always measured from the floor to the highest point on the seat surface.
Table Talk - A thing About School Tables Just like chairs, here is a bit of school desk and table terminology you should be familiar with.
The top of school tables or desks is the part that gets probably the most use, and is the easiest to break. There are two basic kinds of table/desk tops for schools. The first - and most affordable - is known as laminate, which is essentially a wood top having a processed surface that protects it from minor damage. Everyday splotches like pencil marks, fingerprints and white-out can come off easily; however, the desk is going to be vulnerable to dents and pen scratches, in addition to damage from sharp objects.
The 2nd type of tabletop is really a plastic top. This is just what it sounds like - a desk or table engrossed in a solid piece of hard plastic. These are extremely hard to damage, as they are quite tough and may endure major student abuse. Even though they can be much more expensive within the short term, their durability can make them worth their while in the long term.
There's, however, a third kind of desk top called Woodstone. Manufactured exclusively by Hertz Furniture, Woodstone is made of a tough plastic surface having a core of wood and/or wood parts. It is only about as durable as regular plastic, consider it's less expensive to fabricate, its price is more or less the same as a laminate.
Now that you've got all of the terminology you need, you need to actually take into account the school furniture that will assist your students best. Since different grades have different needs, we'll break up by age group.
Kiddie Korner Gross motor skills in young children continue to be very much within the development stage; this is exactly why they have a tendency to trip and fall more often than older children. Then when your budding students go down with a bang, you want to ensure that their chairs stay intact.
Regardless of the need for durability, though, soft plastic is really a much more popular option for this age than plastic. Small children's our body is not fully developed (that's why they're so soft and cuddly); consequently, they are uncomfortable sitting in very rigid chairs. So look for chairs made from top-quality soft plastic.
Some school chairs have a plastic back and seat, but metal frames and legs for added strength and support. They are great for durability, but smaller children might stick their fingers into the space between the metal and plastic and get them pinched or even stuck. If that is an issue for you personally, search for soft plastic chairs made of one piece, solid construction, as these will have no spaces for curious little fingers. They are also a smaller amount expensive.
If you are seeking the effectiveness of the metal-plastic combination but want the security of the one-piece unit, you might like to consider using a school chair made of a combination of soft and hard plastic. These chairs are constructed with a one-piece, soft plastic shell (meaning the back and seat) that's ultrasonically welded to a hard plastic base.
In most P-K classrooms, exactly the same general areas are used for such varying activities as circle time, arts and crafts, eating and even sleeping. Which makes it necessary to have chairs that may be moved and stored easily. So search for chairs that stack easily and in quantity. Ensure that they can be pushed or pulled without an excessive amount of effort too. This is especially important for 5-6 year olds, who will be likely to clear away the chairs if they are "on duty".
Tables For preschoolers to kindergarten, you need to look for tables that measure from about 19-23 inches tall. Some tables include adjustable legs, so you can raise and lower these to suit your needs.
Generally speaking, children up to kindergarten age sit between four and eight to a table. If you're searching at a rectangular table, calculate approximately 20 inches for each child. For round tables, figure that between eight and ten children can fit around a table with a 48 inch diameter.
Although small children aren't necessarily harsh on their school furniture - even their scissors generally have round edges - they may be pretty messy. Glue, crayons, markers, glitter and paint will all "decorate" your tables liberally. So, while you might not need tables with hard plastic tops, make sure you buy ones having a top quality laminate to make clean-up as hassle-free as you possibly can.
The shape of the school tables will depend a good deal around the structure of the classroom. While many schools use standard round or rectangular tables, you will find others that prefer kidney-shaped tables, which allow all the children to have an equal look at the teacher. If it's vital that you you to be able to push tables together, then consider trapezoidal tables. Some companies, like Hertz Furniture, carry specialty tables, like clove or flower-shaped.
The following Stage - Elementary School Chairs Beginning with first grade, young students are expected to sit down while focusing for far for a longer time of time. Therefore, ensuring maximum comfort and minimum fidgeting is a main concern.
Most standard elementary school chairs are made from soft plastic. These are both much more comfortable and less expensive; however, they are not as durable as their hard counterparts. If you are operating under budget constraints - or it's important to you that students have school chairs they are able to lean back in - then here are a few features to that particular will give your soft plastic chairs an added boost of durability:
- Back supports - They are steel supports running completely in the to offer extra back support. * Underseat brackets - These supporting brackets underneath the chair seat. * 16 gauge steel - Ideally, the steel supports ought to be made of a minimum of 16 gauge steel. * Long-term warranty - Ensure that the maker is willing to face behind its products. Some brands, like Academia from Hertz Furniture, actually offer a limited lifetime warranty on their own school chairs.
Wood chairs are incredibly durable and give an attractive, classic look to class furniture. They're significantly more expensive than either soft or hard plastic, though, that is one of many reasons you don't discover their whereabouts all too often.
School Chairs - Leg Options A typical, four legged school chair is the best choice for schools with hard floors. The chair rests on four legs which are usually made from tubular steel and capped with glides to help keep the chairs level and prevent scratches on hard surface floors. Nylon or plastic glides are softer on hard floors, and stop students from making distracting noises once they move around.
Sled-based chairs are also made of tubular steel; however, instead of splitting into four legs, the chair is supported on each side by a base that resembles a sled. This kind of school chair doesn't move easily across hard floors, but it glides softly and simply on carpeted surfaces.
The third option is school chairs on casters. They are four-legged chairs with little wheels attached to ensure that students can change around with ease, and therefore are recommended for classrooms like computer labs or art rooms. They can, however, be hazardous for students in younger grades, and therefore are usually reserved for either teachers or for middle school and up.
Turning the Tables Once children enter first grade, they no more sit four, six or eight to some table; rather, they sit either in pairs or at individual desks. They use their tables more and more for writing and fewer and less for activities such as arts and crafts, and, his or her studies become departmentalized, they've got more materials to keep track of. The older the students get, the greater frequently they write with pens (as opposed to pencils), plus they need sharp-edged school supplies like sharp scissors and compasses.
Then when planning elementary school furniture, you ought to be looking for tables that 1) accommodate two students comfortably; 2) provide a storage solution for college materials and supplies; and, 3) will stand up to intense daily deterioration.
For younger grades, height adjustable activity tables are great. They've plenty of room for students to possess all their materials on the table without invading their tablemate's space. Although these work nicely for older grades, too, many schools prefer school desks at this time. If you are thinking about desks for grades 5 or more but still would like your students to be able to work comfortably in pairs, then look for double desks for example those made by Hertz Furniture.
So far as school supplies, consider chairs with attached book baskets, or desks with open view book boxes. It can be important for the teacher to determine exactly what the students have under their desks, both to facilitate neatness and order and to prevent undesirable objects (or pets!) from creating discipline problems. Definitely search for school tables with plastic tops, or at least a really top quality laminate. Best-quality desk and tabletops could save you both money and time-consuming maintenance.
If your school has wheelchair-bound students, make sure that a minimum of a number of your tables are wheelchair accessible. Some schools obtain only wheelchair accessible tables to ensure that all students have a similar school furniture, no matter physical ability.
Growing and Growing and...Some suggestions for 7th-12th Grade Chairs and Tables In most cases, just about everything that applies to elementary school furniture applies to junior high and school too. There are, however, a few exceptions and additions.
The first is that, at this point, height is no longer a problem. All of your students will require 18"-19" inch school chairs.
Secondly, 7th-12th graders can be hard on their school furniture. Besides regular deterioration, they likewise have a propensity to write (and occasionally engrave) messages on their own chairs. So difficult plastic chairs are recommended. Ditto for desk tops. If budget constraints do not let for your, ensure that the desks you purchase have a very high quality laminate or Woodstone top.
Thirdly, unlike the elementary grades, most schools provide individual desks from 7th grade or more. They are available in a number of shapes and sizes, depending largely on whether your school is geared for independent learning, cooperative learning or perhaps a mixture of both. Double desks, mentioned earlier, allow students to arrange into partners. Trapezoidal desks allow students to sit down individually, but can be conveniently joined together to create semi-circles, hexagons or octagons for group learning. Individual desks, which you see in most classrooms, promote independent learning. Some have an enlarged surface to suit large textbooks, laptops, and to provide additional working space for study partners.
Last, students in 7th-12th grades have a lot more school materials for every class, in addition to school supplies. This means that it is crucial to have school furniture that provides a storage solution for all their stuff. Some schools prefer chairs with attached bookshelves or baskets for a convenient place to store things yet eliminates the tendency of students to fidget together, as they are safely under the seats. Other schools prefer under-the-desk storage, which allows students easy access to anything they may require.
If you have wheelchair-bound students, be sure to bring them into consideration when choosing school desks. There are a variety of wheelchair-accessible desks available in a number of styles, a few of which are appropriate for the non-wheelchair bound too.
A cost-effective choice - both in terms of money and space - is really a chair-desk combination unit. Used mostly in high schools, these come with a choice of both soft and hard plastic chairs, and desktops.
School furniture comes in a number of colors. Navy blue and burgundy are presently the most popular, but you can find chairs in unique colors plus all the primary colors. For classrooms with a color scheme that is both classy and consistent, Educational Edge(TM) offers a line of completely color-coordinated furniture. And if you're searching for school furniture that is both unusually strong and uniquely designed, try the Inspiration line by Hertz Furniture.
The Finishing Touch - School Chair Frame Finishes
Since you have selected the height, material, and type of leg you want your school chairs to possess, it's time to decide on the frame finish. There are three kinds of frame finishes for school chairs:
1) Chrome - This is the popular, very shiny silver finish you see on many chairs. It is very simple to maintain.
2) Powder Coat - Powder coat is really a paint finish that's electro-statically put on steel components like a frame, leaving a highly durable finish. It may be ordered in many colors, so if color-coordinating the frame and the seat is essential to you, this is the finish you'd choose.
3) Mirage - Mirage is another powder coat, but it's colored to look like the classic chrome.