(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/22Rr0Bg)
I say this as being a school owner, there is no school unless you have the furniture, plus the buying of furniture becomes a very regular thing on a long term basis so you are always looking for the most sturdy and the most useful for the student and teacher, not to mention the place as to also look nice.
The process of finding the right furniture isn’t easy, I have to say, but I want to share with you what we went through so that whenever you enter a classroom ever again you will have a much greater understanding and appreciation for what has actually gone into this.
Initially we used the classic tuition chairs with the lift up desk top. These were good but there was no room for teachers to move around and pair and group work meant you had to reorganize everything in the room. Also when the teachers wanted to check everything students were dong they were forever stepping over legs. The room itself was not used economically and less students were able to fit into each room.
After that we replaced the tuition chairs with glass tables. This was a good idea, students had plenty of writing space and group work and teacher interaction as easy. The students couldn’t write on the table tops either…a good move, but the only problem was that glass tables after a while start looking very dirty.
Then of course there were the chairs. Should we use foldable chairs, plastic chairs, metal chairs or wooden chairs. We had to think about the comfort factor. You may be surprised that though the plastic chairs were cheap and ugly looking, they were really quite comfortable. Plastic chairs had flexibility for movement no matter how big or small the person was sitting on the chair. We had to disregard these however because in fact their flexibility ended up working against them…they all eventually broke! So came the wooden and metal chairs. These were not cheap, they were not quite as comfortable but ultimately they were nicer looking and much more robust. So these have stayed.
Finally now we are up to the white tables in each class. These are more robust, cleaner looking and fit well with the wooden/metal chairs. In fact the rooms look a lot better and the whole room is easier for the student and the teacher.
The flooring could have been vinyl or carpet, we opted for carpet because it gave a softer feel, it made the whole teaching and learning process more gentle and accessible. No screeching of chairs across the floor and acoustics were better.
So there we have it…a trial and error situation with the furniture has helped us eventually build a learning atmosphere that we feel helps the student, the teacher and the school to offer the most optimized situation to learn the best and to make the student feel (upon first impression at the school) that they are at the best.
Then of course there is the teachers tables, the projectors and the whiteboards and what you put on the walls, that is another post, another time….
So yes….furniture can make a big difference. What do you think?