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“Joseph has sensory issues and his standing desk really helps him”

It was following a recommendation from a friend that Nikki decided to invest in a standing desk for herself and her husband to use. In the process of doing so, she discovered that standing desks can also benefit children with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions, by allowing them to move while they learn. So she decided to get one for her son Joseph too - and the results have been fantastic. We caught up with Nikki to find out more....

Why did you decide to get a standing desk?

"A friend of mine mentioned that she uses a standing desk at work and was raving about how good it was, so I thought I’d take a look. I went on to order a BigJack electric standing desk, which gives me the space I need to spread out all my papers and can also be lowered and raised as needed.

EIGER Student classroom standing desk

 

While I was on the ‘I Want A Standing Desk’ website I noticed that there was a wooden desk specially designed for children to use too. The company has strong links with the ADHD Foundation and explained about the benefits these types of desks can have for children with sensory conditions. So, as well as purchasing a BigJack electric standing desk for myself, I invested in an EIGER student desk for our 7-year-old son, Joseph, too."

 

What has the impact been for Joseph?

"Joseph has a number of sensory issues. He currently goes into school three days a week and we home-school him the rest of the time.

Joseph needs to be moving pretty much constantly and finds it very difficult to concentrate otherwise. We’d previously tried all sorts of things to support him with his learning, such as wobble cushions and wedges, but with little success. So, I was very interested to see what would happen with the standing desk.

Joseph at his EIGER Student classroom standing desk

The result is, he loves it! We’ve also seen some immediate improvements. Using the standing desk has really helped him, not only in relation to his focus and concentration but also his handwriting.

His current school is fantastic and continues to be very supportive of his needs. We’re hoping he will either be able to take his desk into school with him, or that the school invests in some of their own. (As we’ve told them all about our experiences and the free trial of the EIGER desks that schools can sign up for!).

What is particularly great about the EIGER student desk is that you can fold it up and put it away when you’re not using it. It’s solid and good quality and also super easy to clean."

What impact has using a standing desk had for you?

"As for my BigJack electric desk, before it arrived I was a little sceptical, but it’s exceeded all my expectations. I now work standing up for the most part but also have one of the rest stools to perch on when I choose to.

What has been amazing for me personally is how much more energy I now have. I also no-longer have that dip in energy that I used to get during the afternoon. I’m a keen runner but currently injured, so being able to stand up for a call or meeting is really good, as it means I can stretch and move around.

My husband is an accountant, so has a naturally very stationary role, and he is also now a standing desk convert! When he goes back to working in the office full time, he’s going to be asking for one for himself too."

Thinking of trying a standing desk?

"I would say to anyone thinking of getting one, for either themselves or their child, to go for it!

It’s funny that something so simple can be so effective, especially for children with sensory issues. I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before. I will be sharing our positive experience with other parents who may also benefit."

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Nick White March 30, 2021 0 tags (show) Add a comment

‘Once you start standing, you’ll never want to stop!’

Andrew Leeming is a senior project officer at Lancashire County Council and Programme Manager at Boost, Lancashire’s business growth hub.

After suffering with back pain for many years, Andrew decided to try out an electronic standing desk that was in the office. He was instantly hooked! So, when lockdown hit in March 2020, he was keen to find a similar solution for his home.

Andrew Leeming EIGER Pro standinmg desk

After a brief stint using a bucket to raise his laptop to the height he required, Andrew received his Eiger Pro standing desk. We caught up with him, to find out more.

A standing desk solution for a home office

When the lockdown was first introduced, I spent the first day trying to sit down to work and my back hurt, so I knew I couldn’t continue like that.

I came across I Want A Standing Desk through a business connection. Up to that point, I had thought of standing desks as just being the large electronic desks that I had previously used in the office – and they do offer those - but the Eiger Pro works differently. It sits on top of an existing desk and can be moved about easily and put away when not needed. All of which makes it ideal for home working.

How much do you use your standing desk?

All the time!

The best thing about using a standing desk is that you can keep mobile. I find this really helps my concentration as well as benefiting my health.

Since I’ve started standing up to work, sitting down actually feels strange to me. It’s a habit now, just like sitting is a habit for most people. But honestly, once you start standing up, you’ll never want to stop. The challenge is getting people to stand up in the first place.

What do you think of the Eiger Pro?

EIGER Pro standing desk

It looks nice and is well designed. It’s compact and you can see a lot of thought has gone into it. I also like that it’s made from sustainable forestry and that the idea and passion for the product was that of a local Lancashire entrepreneur!

I don’t use the top shelf yet but it’s not great to stare at a laptop screen all the time, so I’m thinking of getting a monitor and will use it then.

As a company, I Want A Standing Desk has also been great to work with and is always on the end of the phone if I have any questions. The company’s founder, Nick, is a fabulous guy.

What would you say to someone thinking of getting a standing desk?

Do it!

We should all be looking at reducing our sedentariness during the day. A standing desk is one way you can introduce more movement, without needing to think about it.

The problem is people often get trapped behind their computer screen. Employers will consider how people are sitting and how a workspace is set up, etc, but I think we should also be thinking of steps we can take that will benefit health and wellbeing. We should then be throwing that question back at people - challenging them to think about their habits and how they can fit more activity into their day.

A standing desk won’t be right for everyone, but it is a great option to consider. Especially right now, when people are working from home, likely to be moving far less and potentially sitting on sofas and dining chairs all day, which aren’t good for posture.

Making a stand for standing up!

Stand Up
If you’ve ever been on a Zoom call with me, or attended a conference I’m presenting at, then you’ll know I call attendees out on this all the time! I will always suggest we stand up!

With remote working and the demand for greater working flexibility likely to be a legacy of the pandemic, it’s time we all made a stand for standing more!

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Nick White January 28, 2021 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Do EIGER classroom standing desks help in a lockdown classroom?

So were back in lockdown and schools are closed with the exception of key worker children. Classroom restrictions and how children can (or maybe it’s better to say can’t) move around are in the Government guidelines which can present issues for both children and teachers.

Asking Primary School age children who in the main have energy levels galore to move even less than normal during their school day isn’t natural. You only need to picture in your mind the levels of activity in a school playground at break time to remind yourself of this.

So chair, child and desk become one!

Lockdown classroom

Offering a child the option to stand for parts of their day in a lockdown classroom brings variation and allows them to make what we call “micro movements” whilst they are learning. It helps keep them focused and on task therefore improving their work outcomes. This obviously also means positive outcomes for the teacher.

If a child is struggling on a given day and being disruptive why not give them the option to stand? Movement increases dopamine production which is the brains chemical messenger so it makes total sense.

Then there are those children who are on the ADHD/Autistic spectrum. To offer these children an alternative to full time sitting would almost be considered as a must have. In particular children with ADHD quite literally have to concentrate to sit still which only means they are not fully focused on the lesson…so let them stand!

EIGER student classroom standing desk

So do EIGER classroom standing desks improve a lockdown classroom? Yes!

“The standing desks have such a positive impact on children who find sitting still for long periods of time challenging. Children have commented that they feel much more awake and engaged when using the desks. The desks enable the children to move around whilst continuing to learn.”

Dobcroft Primary School. Sheffield. October 2020

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Nick White January 18, 2021 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Why this Primary School purchased 16 extra EIGER Student classroom standing desks...

In February 2020 after a successful 4 week trial Dobcroft Junior School from Sheffield purchased 8 EIGER Student classroom standing desks. In October 2020 they decided to increase that to 24.

Here’s why…

  • Impacts on children

“The standing desks have such a positive impact on children who find sitting still for long periods of time challenging. Children have commented that they feel much more awake and engaged when using the desks. The desks enable the children to move around whilst continuing to learn.”

  • Impacts on teachers

“Almost every class in our school will have at least one standing desk. The desks have been trialled by all teachers and the feedback has been incredibly positive! Classes are much more settled enabling class teachers to target specific children and groups of children as behaviour and distractions in class have been improved significantly. Evidence has shown that handwriting improves, outcome is higher and more progress is made.”

  • Design/product features that work in the classroom.

“The desks are easily moved between children in different lessons - depending on needs. They can easily be sanitised and it is so useful that we are able to change the height of the desks as the height of a Year 3 child can be significantly different to the height of a year 6. The desks are of a high quality and are very sturdy.”

  • Overview

“This is such a worthwhile investment for schools and we use part of our sports premium to pay for these as they promote active collaborative learning whilst enabling children to make progress in lessons. We have now purchased 24 standing desks and I expect this number will continue to rise.”

Dobcroft Junior School are just one of over 250 Primary Schools using EIGER Student classroom standing desks every day making it the UK’s No.1.

There are so many reasons to offer children an alternative to sitting and learning in a classroom environment – day in, day out. Dobcroft Primary are just one of a growing number of schools who are benefiting from a flexible learning environment. You can join them with a free 4 week trial. Just click this link and find out how to -  http://bit.ly/eigertrialinfo

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Creative Classrooms

Recently we read an article in TES about a Year 2 teacher in Dubai who has taken the current COVID classroom guidelines and made them stimulating.

How?

By letting the children turn their standard sitting desks in to a “den”. We like it!

Classromm den

Firstly, all kids like dens – inside or outside. I did. It’s exciting, fun and bringing just those attributes to a learning environment is fantastic.

If that can be collaborated with the curriculum then it has to be a winner. It’s like have an active Maths or English lesson which are pretty well understood and liked by a lot of UK Primary Schools.

Here’s the quoted 3 key benefits of creating a den in the classroom…

 1: Pupil engagement

As soon as our pupils see their learning space as their own learning den that they are responsible for, you see a whole new sense pride in them.

Immediately they are more excited about their space and are willing to use it more creatively. After all, a desk is to be seated at – but a learning den is to be explored.

By enabling pupils to work in their learning den as they wish, they are more engaged in their learning.

 2: Uniting distance learners and classroom pupils

Like many educators around the world, I am now delivering a blended learning model and we strive to equally engage students learning at home and in school.

As such, saying “Stand at your desk” might make perfect sense to a student learning in school, but distance learners may not be learning at a desk and could start to feel left out or upset.

However, if all pupils are invited to create their own learning den, they can all take part and follow the instructions.

By empowering our students at home and in school to create their own learning den, we are creating the united mind-set that we are striving for.

 3: Active Learning – the new way

By establishing learning dens, pupils can safely and actively use their space to learn in a distanced manner.

Pupils can add QR codes to the legs of their learning den – for example, a QR code for a thesaurus in English.

As children may no longer have access to shared copies of books, by equipping them with QR codes in their learning den, they have the learning materials they need to hand.

By situating these resources around the learning den (eg, one leg of the learning den is designated towards maths QR codes, one leg English and so on), students must get up and actively use their space to access the required resource.

Den desk in classroom

Laminating a coloured circle in each corner of their learning den also allows pupils to be active while completing work which they may have traditionally done on a whiteboard. Each corner has either a red, blue, green or yellow circle.

In phonics lesson, for example, rather than asking pupils to list their new words on their whiteboard, which does not require them to be active, ask them to write one new vocabulary word in each of the coloured circles.

This simple strategy allows pupils to be regularly moving throughout the lesson rather than being seated for long periods of time. The opportunities for how these circles can be used are endless.

Overall, these changes have made a big difference in how pupils view their socially-distant classroom that now has more of that touch of magic and excitement that a primary classroom should always contain.

So there you have it, creativity and fun whilst learning. We think it’s all part of creating a flexible learning environment and anything that does that is great.

It’s why our EIGER Student classroom standing desks work so well. Giving any child an option to not sit in a classroom all day, every school day and still be able to document their work and be inclusive makes total sense.

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Nick White October 01, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

5 Ways How Classroom Standing Desks can help Children Return to School in September

We don’t think anyone would argue against the need for school to resume in September as long as it is safe for both children and teachers.

We’re positive that most children will embrace returning to an environment where they can see their friends, have fun, play sport and of course learn!

Back to school classroom Corona

But logic says, after months away from the classroom there may be a few challenges and we think having a number of standing desk options in every classroom will help.

Here are 5 ways we think EIGER Student classroom desks can help in September…

1: No matter how good “home schooling” has been for each individual child (or not), potentially they may find it difficult to go back to longer and more structured lesson formats. Their focus and concentration maybe tested.

Standing is a low level form of activity that increases the brains oxygen levels, glucose levels and vitally our production of dopamine. These all help child or adult stay focused and alert.

2: The children will be less accustomed to sitting for prolonged periods in a learning environment. To offer them a flexible standing option that allows them to “move” and still document their work will have great impacts.

3: SEN children, in particular may really struggle when it comes to sitting. To be able to offer them an option to stand and still be 100% inclusive in the classroom benefits them, all the other children and the teacher.

4: Certain children will not have been as active during lockdown compared to if they had been attending school. Offering them the alternative to stand and learn increases their activity levels with no extra time input from a teacher makes perfect sense.

5: With class bubbles strongly recommended by the Government giving children a “flexible learning environment” will help keep them engaged for longer meaning better lesson outcomes. Having just a small number of standing desk options in a classroom will contribute to this.

Here’s hoping September goes well for you and let us know if we can help you and your school in any way.

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Nick White August 12, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Just a thought for when your children do arrive back in the classroom...

It seems like chaos in UK schools at the moment. Are we going back to the classroom or not? When – June, July, September? Will the parents let their children go? Is it safe for both children and teachers? There are lots of questions and not enough answers.

Child staring out of windowBut one thing that struck us at EIGER standing desks is that children will have got out of the habit of sitting down for prolonged periods and focusing on lesson work in a classroom environment, certainly in the quantity of a full day at school.

They potentially will find it harder to stay on task. Teachers will potentially find it harder to keep them engaged. Potentially this may be even harder with children on the ADHD/Autistic spectrum.

So having a flexible learning environment should be an advantage. An alternative to sitting will benefit both child and teacher.

We know that an option to stand in class increases brain function and therefore focus and therefore lesson outcomes.

We know that an option to stand helps SEN children significantly. The ADHD Foundation have been encouraging parents and schools for years to allow their children to stand in class as this improves the brains dopamine production which these particular children lack.

Childs handwriting exampleHandwriting? When you haven’t use a pen after a week’s holiday it seems strange at first! We get great feedback from teachers on how children’s handwriting improves because they are standing. An EIGER classroom standing desk helps even more with this as the main shelf is sloped slightly downwards like a writing slope.

And finally there’s that old friend activity. COVID19 had highlighted how inactive we are as a society. The Government advice to take a daily walk in lock-down has created a positive behaviour change. I’ve never seen so many people walking, cycling and running which is fantastic (and long may it continue).

Runners

But don’t forget that when most people aren’t active a massive proportion will sit – at work, at home and at school. That doesn’t need to be the case.

Whenever you arrive back in the classroom (you maybe there now) take care and thank you.

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Nick White June 11, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Outdoor learning – a great way to help “Corona” back to school?

Outdoor Learning

Scotland’s local authorities are looking to increase outdoor learning as a template to help social distancing when schools go back. It seems, weather permitting, a sound idea.

Cameron Sprague is a senior team leader at Stramash Nursery in Fort William. He said: “It’s always been the case that infection control is easier outdoors. We never have the situation where one kid gets chicken pox then a third of the school is off.

Outside space allows for social distancing to happen more naturally. The weather has been on our side, so the children can play freely outside. We have rolling snacks and lunches to avoid them clustering together, and handwashing every hour.

This might be the way that outdoor learning gets pushed forward, but it’s about so much more than infection control. Teachers do need support to do this. There are not many things you can’t teach outdoors, you just have to think creatively.”

Educators and policymakers across the political spectrum are increasingly convinced by the growing heft of evidence about the exponentially positive impact of learning outdoors.

Obese childIn Scotland outdoor learning was also attractive because two years ago, a study of 38 nations ranked it joint last for physical activity and its childhood obesity levels continue to rise – something mirrored in most developed countries.

Research tells us that outdoor learning improves learning and attainment, health and wellbeing, cognitive and social development and physical activity levels…win-win!

The Institute for Outdoor Learning is a great place to go to get some resources that will give you some valuable insights - https://www.outdoor-learning.org/

We feel this all has a very strong alignment with what we’re trying to achieve in the classroom with our EIGER Student standing desks. Having a flexible learning environment stimulates children and it’s quite unbelievable how a simple option to stand improves focus and concentration and lesson outcomes.

It’s based on how the human body operates, add movement and it stimulates more oxygen, glucose and vitally dopamine all which make us feel good and focus better…the exact opposite of sitting!

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Nick White May 14, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

650,000 children have returned to Danish day care centres and primary schools

Denmark has become the first European country under lockdown to start reopening schools, sparking conflict between health officials and concerned parents.

Around 650,000 children have returned to day care centres and primary schools in the first phase of the Danish government’s reopening strategy.

So what is actually happening in Denmark?

School classroomKindergartens and the first five forms in primary schools were reopened on April 15th across Denmark. Children aged over 12 must remain at home for now. Universities are closed until at least May 10th.

Kindergartens and primary schools have been issued with a list of government instructions designed to minimise the risk of children spreading the virus amongst each other.

Parents are asked to drop their children off at the front gates in a staggered system and are not allowed to enter school buildings.

Children must wash their hands as soon as they arrive and every two hours after. They must stay in small groups when playing outside. In classes, pupils must sit at desks or tables at least two metres apart.

The children are not allowed to bring toys from home, and the nurseries or school’s own toys and equipment has to be disinfected twice a day, along with surfaces such as sinks, toilet seats and door handles.

Attendance rates are 90% in most schools which indicate most parents trust the new system.

Will the UK follow suit?

Speculation surrounding when and how UK schools will re-open is causing much debate.

The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said this week that the earliest schools might realistically reopen would be in June after half-term.

“It can only happen when supported by the science, and there will need to be a lead-in time of several weeks to ensure it is carefully planned,” Geoff Barton said. 

“It is then going to be necessary to maintain social distancing in schools as much as possible. It is likely that we will need to reintroduce certain year groups in the first instance, rather than fully reopening schools to all pupils.”

Dept of Education logoThe Department for Education has refused to speculate about when such a process might begin. “They will remain closed, except for children of critical workers and the most vulnerable children, until the scientific advice changes and we have met the five tests set out by government to beat this virus,” a spokesperson said. 

“We will work in close consultation with the sector to consider how best to reopen schools, nurseries and colleges when the time is right so that parents, teachers and children have sufficient notice to plan and prepare.”

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Nick White April 24, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Denmark opens Primary Schools after COVID 19

School gates

Denmark was one of the first European countries to impose lockdown and is now the first to re-open Primary Schools.

Re-opening Primary Schools seems to be one of the earlier benchmarks Governments are considering to relax full lockdown rules. Germany is probably going to be the next.

The reasons why?

  • We need to get employed parents back to work as soon as it’s deemed safe and that means children need to go back to school.
  • Evidence so far suggests that children are less vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus.
  • School is a more controlled setting and in theory it will be easier to achieve a safe environment to kick-start breaking full lockdown.

There are critics in Denmark...

"We're all a bit nervous and we'll have to ensure that we stick to hygiene rules," Elisa Rimpler of the BUPL, the Danish Union of Early Childhood and Youth Educators, told the BBC.

"We have a lot of washing hands during the day. We don't have masks and we have to keep a good distance from each other so that's a very difficult task."

There is talk that UK Primary schools will re-open in early to mid-May and that’s not too far away. We hope and think that Government advisors and health specialists should support teachers with guidelines on how to operate safely to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

Wash handsThe Danish Government has regulations that now require Primary Schools to make sure the children are split into smaller groups, can wash their hands immediately upon arrival and at least every two hours, and that contact surfaces like sinks, toilet seats and door handles are disinfected twice daily.

Schools are also printing maps that mark entrance and exit routes and ensuring children remain outside as much as possible.

It will be challenging for sure, but it will be one of the significant first steps to getting back to normality.

One point that COVID 19 has highlighted to many of us is how important a healthy lifestyle is. Movement and exercise is nature’s medicine and our EIGER classroom standing desks help with that. To have a new generation of young adults who understand that sitting is not the only way you have to “work” has so many positive impacts. We like that a lot.

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Nick White April 17, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Remote Working – Will there be more of it?

Flexible working has become more common place over the last few years. In the last few weeks it’s become the norm for a very large number of people.

Is it working? Do we like it? Has it got more of a future in normal working practice?

Home working

This is how we see it..the pro’s and the con’s.

Pro’s…

  • Less mind numbing, ineffective commuting.
  • Positive environmental impacts.
  • Fewer distractions/more focus.
  • Better productivity.
  • Less bureaucracy.
  • Fewer pointless meetings.
  • Less time wasting.
  • Happier employees with better lifestyles (less of the daily grind feeling).
  • More employee trust and responsibility with employer creating a positive relationship.
  • Smaller offices required for employers – reduced costs.
  • Better staff retention for employers.
  • Less sick days for employers (reduce the spread of colds, coughs and COVID19).

Con’s…

  • Employees taking advantage (more time on the golf course).
  • Lack of human interaction and stimulation.
  • Too much time at home (cabin fever).
  • Less collaboration and team work.
  • Screaming at Skype when it doesn’t work.

Scream face image

Below are the results from an American study that are really interesting…

  • Remote employees work an additional 1.4 more days per month than in-office employees, which is nearly 17 additional workdays a year.
  • Remote employees take longer breaks on average than office employees (22 minutes versus 18 minutes, respectively), but they work an additional 10 minutes a day.
  • Office workers are unproductive for an average 37 minutes a day, not including lunch or breaks, whereas remote employees are unproductive for only 27 minutes.
  • 15% of remote workers said their boss distracted them from work, which is less than the 22% of office-based employees who said the same thing. 

The demand for our EIGER Pro standing desk has risen dramatically over the last few weeks. It’s almost like people don’t think twice about sitting at a desk in the office “because that’s what we do” and “everyone does it” but at home it raises the question of how can I work healthy, how can I help my posture?

EIGER Pro standing desk

An EIGER Pro will convert any flat surface into a standing desk (even the kitchen table) in seconds so it’s really flexible. It’s modular so it can go under your stairs and out of the way. It complements a home environment because of its unique Scandinavian design; it’s not a huge piece of plastic from the Far East!

So it all looks pretty positive that remote/home working has a big future. It seems that from reports so far that COVID19 and self-isolation has proven the point to both employee and employer that we can work effectively at home.

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Nick White April 09, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

Movement is magic and medicine...

So here we are in lock down. It’s not a nice word and instantly we associate it with negative emotions and feelings. It indicates that we’re trapped and unable to move about freely…to do what we want.

Human’s need to move to be healthy and happy both physically and mentally. It’s a fact. Not one we always pay enough attention to in “normal modern day times”.

But moving, taking exercise, playing sport is nature’s magical medicine…and it makes us smile too.

Just take a look at Joe Wicks, “The Nation’s PE Teacher”. You won’t have been able to miss what he’s doing and the positive engagement he’s had.

Look at the enjoyment of both children and parent’s when they’re “working out” together. It’s bloody amazing and uplifting!

Joe Wicks Nations PE Teacher

3.7 million people watched his first video this week…3.7 million people! They all wanted to do something positive and active and I’ll put my house on the fact that at the end of the 30 minute session 99% of children and adults who did it we’re smiling and feeling great.

We get this type of feedback from schools that are using our EIGER classroom standing desks. The children don’t want to be sat all day, every day in lessons. They probably don’t know why they don’t, but they just don’t. It’s not natural. It’s not in their biological blueprint.

“My Y6 class love using the EIGER standing desks for maths, rather than longer writing activities - but they are so popular we have to organise a rota for each group of children!” Dobcroft Primary School. Sheffield.

When they stand, they can fidget and “move” without being disruptive. Nobody stands still (unless you’re a guard outside Buckingham Palace!), we make micro-movements and this increases our oxygen and glucose levels. Vitally it increases positive endorphins in the brain which stimulate us and helps us feel good. Sitting is the complete opposite.

EIGER Student standing desk

So let’s give Joe Wicks a round of applause. Hats off to him. He’s highlighted how movement and exercise positively impact us physically and mentally. How we should make sure it’s part of our daily routine. How it brings people together and makes us smile.

Let’s not brush this under the carpet when the lockdown goes away.

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Nick White March 26, 2020 0 tags (show) Add a comment

US Project Based Schools Show How Antiquated We Are In The UK

In a political climate where politicians’ are pushing to increase class sizes, some schools are earning a gleaming reputation for pushing back against the norm and keeping classes small.

We are in a time of flux with standardised tests, the debate as to whether the pressure from GCSE's and SAT's are too disruptive to pupil mental health are ongoing. Meanwhile the same non-conformist schools have thrown out exams all together. Where the modern day school system demands uniformity, California based High Tech High asks their pupils not to wear a uniform.



‘We have been very intentional at High Tech High about keeping our class sizes, team sizes and school sizes small...This allows us to build that sense of community and collaboration.’

Subject of a 2018 documentary "Most Likely to Succeed" High Tech High is a school proactively doing things differently. A place where pupils tend to be separated by what they are learning rather than their age group. A place where subject boundaries are fluid and are often taught simultaneously by focusing on project based learning. For example Physics and Art are conceivably one of the most unlikely pairings which result in life size Escher styled staircases which seemingly go nowhere being hand crafted and displayed by pupils. Science projects merge with environmental to see students measuring the local waterways and feeding their data into larger scope university projects.

 


By stark contrast to the Escher staircases this Montessori style school in California has pupils who certainly go somewhere as 95% of its students enter university education. The schools two month long internships that every student undertakes sees them experiencing tech companies, art museums and fertility clinics as part of their personal development. One student was quoted as saying "‘it was such a powerful experience, It’s made me realise I want to work in midwifery.’

Surprisingly High Tech High is a state funded charter school like the UK's free schools. It doesn’t discriminate on who gets to join. The classes boast SEN pupils and financially disadvantaged kids in relatively high percentages.

As we wrote about in our article on the Finnish school system.  It seems that an ethos and culture innately embedded in a schools DNA can instil into pupils a desire and love of learning. This seems to translate into better results and more well-rounded successful individuals.

 



The culture of High Tech High is a flagship concept in new wave schooling. Envisioned by Educational leader Larry Rosenstock, Silicon Valley tech billionaire Irwin Jacobs and a team of civic heads and teachers who sought to redesign the entire system with notions of deep learning and holistic development at its core.

‘In our maths class, the teacher explains a concept. Then we all must go away and use this concept to create our own problem and solution – and then come back and teach the rest of the class. It’s a really powerful way to learn. And sometimes it’s easier to understand from your peers than a teacher.’

The school is visited by 5000 influencers and educators every year seeing celebrity visitors such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill gates through its doors. The pupils this type of free range education is spawning are confident, critical thinkers whose maturity and collaborative skills have been cultivated through constant collaborate activity in teams.

 

 

Their creativity is nurtured and given as much importance as the basic fundamentals such as English and Maths. This core subjects are mandatory but the options to venture into coding, language, politics, engineering and environment are there.

The landscape is changing and it seems Britain may be getting left behind in an outdated and regressive methodology. There are still some UK schools adopting new ideas and undertaking Dead Poets Society style mentoring but they are amongst the few not the plenty.

 

High Tech High students working on a robotics project.

 

The quality and style of international education is shifting towards pupil-centric ideals. Soon it's likely the face of schooling will have a new look. One not designed to produce workers for the factories, subservient and hardworking but instead, free thinkers with diverse critical thinking skills who are better equipped to take on the challenges being presented by the digital age.


Where do you stand on this new type of schooling? Would it work in the UK? Does your school embrace change? Let us know in the comments or on our social media channels.


Schools wishing to trial standing desks as part of their own new wave thinking can trial them here: Schools Student Standing Desk Trial


More Links:
High Tech High 
Finland’s Excellent school system needs to be emulated. 
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New Research Shows Nature Makes Kids Happier

As my own anecdotal experience tells me (as a big advocate for taking our children hiking in the local woodlands.) Research has now been able to demonstrate a scientific link between being out and about in nature and feeling good.

 


A study released on Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Psychology researchers studied the direct link between a group of kids “connectedness to nature” and their sustainable behaviours and happiness.

The study asked 300 children to fill in a questionnaire about how they perceive nature from how they feel when they see wild animals to the joy of smelling flowers and hearing birdsong. The children who measured as having good connection to nature also showed some other interesting results.

Connected to nature is defined by the researchers as;
"Thinking and feeling emotionally connected with all the elements of the natural environment, with feeling happier as a consequence."

 


The kids who scored higher on nature connection also were more likely to engage in altruism, help people, care for the environment, recycle, save water and perhaps more interestingly they were more likely to state they believed in equality between race, sex and financial standing.

The same children scored higher on the happiness scale.
As a parent who recently paid for his son to attend a weekly gardening club whose toddler also goes to forest school. I’m, feeling pretty validated. I know getting your hands dirty and understanding your environment is a big part of what made my childhood fun. But above happiness it seems according to the researchers they believe we owe it to the planet to ensure that the future custodians of our environment learn to love it and develop their other altruistic tendencies in the process.

"They are future consumers of products, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, workers, and depending on the environmental education received, their connection with nature, environmental awareness and environmental values are the future of the environment, too," said Dr. Laura Barrera-Hernández, author of the study.

With the ever growing trend of forest and beach schools gaining momentum it makes sense to give children the benefit of the outdoors when their online role models are influencing them to sit down and watch video games, streamers and YouTube for hours on end.

 


Allowing kids to exist outdoors whatever the weather is culturally embedded in the Finnish education system we recently wrote about where kids get regular exercise and outdoor time during the school day to encourage their development and morale.

So why would we suggest going outside when we are retailing standing desks? Well two reasons.


The first being that using our classroom friendly Eiger standing desks means groups of kids can easily be taken outside if it’s a nice day as the desks are extremely portable and can be disassembled, moved and re-assembled in a matter of minutes. Many of our clients are schools who do this regularly to give their kids some much needed outdoor time.

 


We wrote recently how one in eight kids don’t even play outside.

A 2015 study also showed adults benefit from being outside and report less negative thoughts and general increase in mental health. So the same applies to office workers who might want to take their laptop to the local park with our outdoor Eiger carry bags this outdoor office can be achieved in a matter of minutes.

 



Secondly standing desks are part of our prescription for a holistic approach to good physical wellbeing and overall mental health. They are not a cure-all. They can be and should be used as part of a healthy lifestyle shift. Using a standing desk all day and not moving when doing so is fundamentally not much better than sitting extensively.

Using a standing desk to encourage movement is the optimal way to benefit from having one. So taking regular movement breaks to get a glass of water of walking to the loo a little farther away are all great habits to get into when standing at work or school to increase the micro movements needed to burn calories and release physical tensions.

 


The need for mobility is one of the reasons we have leaned towards portable designs in our desks. Stationary desk users are less likely to more and improve their physical literacy.

So what’s the main take away here?


• Whether child or adult, there’s now a scientifically proven benefit to getting outside into nature.
• Kids who engage with nature basically become better, nicer and happier people.
• Standing desks can be a great way to get your classroom outside and still learning.
• Standing desks are part of the solution and should be used in conjunction with cultural and behavioural changes that see you using your body more and being more mindful to truly get the most out of the standing desk movement.

 

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Alexa, Do My Homework!

Low Literacy Due To Overuse of Screen Time?...Health Secretary Prescribes An App For That.

The independent reported today that the majority of parents would struggle to help a 7 year old with their homework according to a new study.

The study by Oxford Home Schooling found that only a third of parents felt confident assisting their kids with school projects. The study provided 1000 parents typical year 3 homework and found only 1 in 16 of the participants could answer each of the Maths, English and Science questions correctly.

You can head over to the Independents article to do the test yourself.

The study also determined men are more likely to feel confident helping out with homework. 39 percent of Dads compared to only 28 percent of mums said they were confident to help.

 

 

More than one in 10 parents acknowledged they use Siri or Alexa virtual assistants to help answer homework questions. More than 75% of parents admit to often using the internet to answer homework questions.

“The results of the survey are quite surprising, but they will probably resonate with many parents across the country," said Dr Nick Smith, principal at Oxford Home Schooling.

"For some, a large amount of time will have passed since they themselves were in the education system and so they will be unfamiliar with the current curriculum.

“Our research has found that over a third of primary school parents think their children are stressed because of work, so it is important that they strive to help out where they can, using assistants, like Google, if needed.”

Meanwhile despite televised warnings of kids getting too much screen time the education secretary Damien Hinds believes parents should be getting their kids to use educational apps to reduce the literacy gap between children at school entry age.

He talked in terms of the development gap being a "profound issue" and will let the areas most affected by the readiness variance have free prescriptions to educational apps for kids as young as two years old.

He said the so called sesame street can be harnessed to bridge the skill gap. He also puts the responsibility on distracted parents who are too engaged with their own devices to talk to their kids and help them out.

 



Both these articles are painting a picture of a society which has a two sided relationship with technology. The majority of parents are relying on the internet and devices to help kids do their homework. kids copy what they see at home and in turn spend too much time using devices and doing less and less of more proactive activity’s such as reading and motor skill improving creative play. The kids suffer as a result of their own and their parents overuse of tech whilst the health secretary prescribes more screen time to solve the issue no doubt creating kids who grow up reliant of technology to solve their problems and so a perpetual loop seems impossible to avoid.

 



With Apples steady integration into the school room via digital text books and homework apps, it seems that parents are going to undertaking an uphill struggle to push back against the machines we are increasingly relying on to help us raise our kids.

One way we can make sure our kids are getting some extra exercise is by providing them with standing desks. Schools can trial standing desks on a “try-before-you-buy” basis here. Parents can grab a suitably sized Eiger Standing desk here to encourage more physical literacy at home to make their own stand against the developing screen time addiction crisis turning our kids obese and illiterate.

I Want a Standing Desk Publishes a Fortnightly Blog about health and education. Bookmark us now or follow us on Twitter / Facebook to keep up to speed with our latest.

Further reading: 

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Kids

Kids Become Less Active Every Year of Primary

Fight The Obesity Crisis With School Wide Change

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