Ergonomics Plays an Important Role in Schools
When the word "ergonomics" is bought into conversation, many people immediately think of grown adults at desk jobs. Perhaps the Greek roots in the word ergonomics - "the study of man at work" - may have shaped our thinking. However, young children are also privy to discomfort due to out-of-date furniture that does not meet the needs of their body.
Did you know…?
- Over 83% of elementary school students sit at chair-desk combinations that are not suitable for their height.
- Most school furniture is out of date and does not conform to minimum orthopedic-physiological requirements.
- Elementary school children spend approximately 9 hours sitting every day.
Thankfully, more educators are beginning to understand the importance of ergonomics in the classroom and how it relates to improving the learning environment. Educators are now focusing more of their attention on the classroom environment in order help children to get the most of their academic experience. In the past, educational methods, along with classroom environment have used a "one size fits all" approach. From learning methods such as lecturing and memorization to school furniture
, schools now realize that every child's needs are different and should be met accordingly. This includes the role ergonomics play when it comes to correctly sizing chairs and desks and choosing furniture that promotes healthy positions and allows movement.
Traditional school desk and chair designs often have rigid seats that incline backward, causing rounding of the back, tense shoulder, back, and neck muscles, constriction of the digestive organs, lack of blood circulation, and forces the spinal cord to be pressed to one side. Ergonomic solutions include a rocking mechanism in chairs as well as the ability to swivel in order to change seat inclination.
Children learn best in a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment, and ergonomics play an important factor in these needs. Combining ergonomics with any academic setting is necessary in order to support whatever learning style best suits the students.