We’re guessing you’ve heard the old proverb, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” – right? Well, when it comes to schools and learning environments, oftentimes, low quality furniture is the weakest link. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that a school’s furnishings will impact a student’s education as much as the educators who teach the curriculum do.
From the seating in a teacher's lounge to the workstations in a classroom, quality and comfort (or lack thereof) influence the experiences of all parties involved.
Think about it this way: a school might employ highly skilled faculty armed with compelling, evidence-based teaching methodologies, but if the students can't stop fidgeting in their seats long enough to engage in the lesson, it doesn't matter how qualified the teacher is. And let's not forget about the teachers themselves. Forcing them to work with students in a classroom without functional furniture will result in frustration and lower quality instruction.
Modern-day schools are preparing children for an entirely different world after graduation than the traditional classroom was designed for - and as a result, learning spaces need to evolve.
In an excerpt from a book titled, Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today, the authors (Sheninger and Murray) discuss how illogical it is for today's classrooms to mirror those of the past. They explain that, "today’s educational paradigm is no longer one of knowledge transfer but one of knowledge creation and curation."
So, what does this mean in terms of classroom design?
To start, schools can rid their classrooms of identical rows of workstations. Children don’t learn by sitting and listening (at least not entirely). Rather, they learn by doing and discussing. As such, Sheninger and Murray note, "learning spaces…have flexible seating arrangements, boast comfortable furniture, and are agile enough to be reworked in a short time period."
And of course, since not everyone learns the same way, the classroom should offer students a variety of stations to choose from during independent work or reading time. Soft floor cushions, rocking chairs, and adjustable tables are all great options.
The next step...
On a positive note, it's much more feasible to change the furniture than the faculty! With thoughtful planning into your school's vision and goals, it's possible to transform an outdated process into one that equips students and teachers with the tools needed for positive learning experiences.
At CDI Spaces, we exist to help schools create healthy, effective learning environments. We believe that collaboration between your school administrators, educators, parents, and students is key to ensuring you make a wise investment that serves your school for many years to come.
If you have questions about furnishing your school or want to set up a consultation with a CDI Spaces team member, reach out to us today!
CDI has proven to be highly responsive to our needs. They are very supportive in the development of solutions and proactive in getting things done in a timely fashion.
Calgary Christian High School