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Designing the Fidgeting Classrooms of the Future
Posted 2013-10-11 by Rachel Trainer in Educational Environment

From Facebook’s game-filled, college-themed campus to the futuristic lounges at the Googleplex playground, non-traditional office seating and design is a major trend in increasing employee productivity and contentment. As schools come under the microscope of standardized tests and national requirements, educators are also starting to look outside the box in classroom seating. 

Last week, Wrigley’s teamed up with local educators to discuss and learn about Safco’s newest furniture designed specifically for a classroom environment. The event was the first in a series of “Lunch and Learns” designed to unite members of the community as we discuss industry-relevant topics.

The event started with a demonstration of the Zenergy Chair. At first glance, we thought it resembled a minion from Despicable Me, but after sitting on it, the entire office wanted one. It earns its odd shape from a stability ball inside, which engages your core throughout the day. The chair not only forces you to have proper posture, therefore alleviating desk-related back pain, but it also gives you a workout at your desk.

Due to the Zenergy chair’s popularity, Safco developed a children’s version, Runtz. These chairs allow children an escape from spending the entire day at traditional metal desks and help children develop good posture at a young age. Most importantly, Runtz chairs add an element of exercise to a sedentary classroom by allowing children to bounce in their seat. Studies show an element of movement or fidgeting can increase focus for all students, but it is especially effective in helping students with ADD/ADHD excel in a classroom environment.

An elementary school teacher who recognized the importance of fidgeting in the classroom created the AlphaBetter desk to allow an appropriate amount of movement. Its adjustable legs allow students to sit or stand, but the Alphabetter’s silent pendulum kick bar is truly revolutionary. The pendulum kick bar allows students to fidget all day in a way that does not disrupt other students. During our Lunch and Learn, special education specialists said they often wrap bands around desks to provide this same type of movement. With the Alphabetter, this function is built in with no noise or opportunity to tamper with the tool.

In all, our first Lunch and Learn was a success. As a group, we learned about the struggles facing students and teachers and some of the new tools available. Stay tuned to see what’s in store for next month.