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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ergonomic Chairs in the Classroom

Children spend the majority of their time in school, upwards of 80% actually, sitting.  It’s important to make sure they are comfortable during that time.  Studies have shown that comfortable classroom chairs are directly related to student alertness and performance.  In addition, younger students, especially, are susceptible to chronic musculoskeletal disorders since their bodies are still in the developmental stage.   

American adults spend millions of dollars each year on ergonomically designed chairs for their office and their homes.  However, they don’t seem to put much thought into the fact that children spend as much time, if not more, sitting.  If we realize that, as adults, sitting in an uncomfortable chair all day can be damaging to the body, and cause problems in work performance… why are we not providing ergonomically designed classroom chairs to our children at school?

The answer is mostly practical.  Those ergonomic chairs can be fairly expensive, and most school systems simply don’t have the funds to supply them to all their students.  Schools also have other traits they look for in chairs as well, such as the ability to be stacked and general durability. But there is compromise., for example, offers a range of classroom chairs that are ergonomically designed while at the same time highly durable and inexpensive. 

There are very few studies on the before and after; however, we can assume from other studies that changing traditional classroom chairs to ergonomically designed ones may help students perform better and schools function more efficiently .  Because of this, it may be possible to obtain government or corporate subsidies for a small scale test.  And once confirmed, more ergonomically designed classroom chairs may become the norm in public schools.


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