For many families, getting a child to do their homework can be a daily battle and for the parents of children with additional needs, such as ADHD and autism, the challenge can sometimes be even greater.
Because neurodivergence is typically associated with hyperactivity and repetitive physical behaviours, sitting and concentrating for any length of time can prove difficult and take a significant amount of energy. After navigating the school day, it’s no surprise that many children are therefore reluctant to do more learning at home.
But the results of a new study have shown there could be a simple solution to improving comfort and making the whole experience more enjoyable - ditching the chair and standing up!
Parents of neurodivergent children were asked to share what their typical experiences at homework time were. More than half (51%) of the 200 parents surveyed said that their child found it very difficult to focus and challenging to sit still for extended periods of time, especially when completing schoolwork. Two-thirds (64%) adding that their child was very unlikely to stay seated for the duration of a task.
To see what difference standing up might have for homework time, 10* volunteer families were subsequently given a standing desk to trial for a period of four weeks.
The families were asked to share any differences they saw in their child’s ability to focus, their comfort, accuracy in mark-making and willingness to do their homework. Plus, to consider whether the young person’s needs and challenges manifested differently when standing to work, versus them being seated.
After using the EIGER student standing desks, parents said they saw increased engagement and focus on the task at hand, along with improvements in restlessness and hyperactivity. All the families also reported an improvement in their child’s handwriting.
The study was conducted by Lancashire learning innovator, I Want A Standing Desk (IWASD), in collaboration with Dr Helen Ross, a government advisor and British Dyslexia Association trustee, driving for positive change for children with special educational needs.
Nick White, founder of IWASD, commented: “No child was born to sit still. So, it’s no surprise that for many, sitting still to learn – whether in the classroom or at home - can be a challenge. We know from the 600+ schools we work with that this is especially true in the case of children with additional needs.
“Homework time can prove to be a battle that families come to dread and so the purpose of this study was to see whether standing up could positively impact on the experience for all involved. It’s been fascinating to speak to parents, many of whom have seen significant improvements over the four-week period. While we can’t change the homework that has been set, we can help make its completion a more comfortable experience. Just like we see in the classroom environment, having the opportunity to stand up to learn has proven an instant hit with the children too!”
Dr Helen Ross said: “What this report really highlighted to me – and something I personally see with many of the young people I work with – is just how much children can benefit from having an opportunity to move. It can be such a simple solution for boosting their ability to focus but also their wellbeing, in what might otherwise be a stressful situation.”
One of the children taking part in the trial was eight-year-old Natalie from Southend, who is autistic. Her mother Sarah commented: “One difference we noticed straightaway is that using the standing desk means Natalie can move when she needs to and then carry on with what she’s doing. Because she’s not tied to a chair, it’s no longer about sitting and trying to supress herself. If she feels a bit fidgety, she has options.
This has helped her feel more comfortable while she’s working and also improved her focus. But I think the best thing about using the standing desk for us has been that it allows Natalie to get things done in her own way.”
Another child taking part in the homework trial was Oliver Webb, aged 10, who lives with his mum, dad and younger sister in Cambridge. Oliver has been diagnosed as having ADHD.
His mum Anna commented: “Oliver is always busy and on the move. He gets bored very easily and we always faced a lot of resistance at homework time. Using the standing desk and being able to move around while doing his work, has really helped his concentration. The desk has given him different options and he really likes that.”
More than 600 UK primary schools currently use EIGER Student Standing Desks, which allow pupils to stand and move whilst they learn. As well as benefiting health and wellbeing, schools using them report seeing improvements in behaviour and concentration, especially among those pupils with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions.
To read Dr. Helen Ross' full report click this link - EIGER Standing Desk Homework Study - Dr Helen Ross | I Want A Standing Desk
*One family was unable to finish the trial, so percentages in the report are calculated based on the feedback of the 9 families who completed it.
For more information, please contact Nick White /01200 420877 firstname.lastname@example.org
Using standing desks can improve workers’ performance, boost wellbeing and energy levels and reduce stress. That’s according to the findings of a major new study conducted by the University of Leicester, which has looked at the impact of using standing desks on the health of office workers.
How did it work?
The 12-month trial involved more than 750 council office workers, who were either randomly assigned to a control group, or benefited from interventions’ designed to reduce their sitting time and increase moving time at work, with some also receiving an adjustable height desk.
The workers’ movement levels were then measured and compared over the course of the test period.
Why office workers?
Sedentary lifestyles are known to increase the risk of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, and cancer.
It is thought that office employees typically do the least exercise, spending around three-quarters of their shifts and two-thirds of their waking day sitting in a chair.
What the researchers found is that the use of standing desks was three times more effective at reducing sitting time than the other interventions alone. A positive change in behaviour was also maintained by those using standing desks, across the course of the trial.
Researchers also recorded improvements in stress, wellbeing, and a sense of work-related ‘vigor’, while in comparison the group with no interventions in place had more pain in the hips, knees, and ankles.
As someone who is a long standing advocate of tackling sedentary working practices through the use of standing desks, it’s amazing to see their benefits being placed under the microscope like this!
And, as our customers tell us - once you stand, you’ll never go back!
Something that wasn’t touched on in this report - but which is an angle we will be looking at in more detail ourselves here at I Want A Standing Desk – is whether the use of standing desks can also have additional benefits for office workers who are neurodivergent.
Through our work with schools and parents, we know our desks can make a huge difference for neurodivergent pupils in a classroom setting, and also when used for doing homework in a domestic setting - particularly for those children with ADHD.
Pupils at Rendlesham Primary School add EIGER Classroom Standing Desks and end up in the Regional Paper
Pupils in Years one to six at Rendlesham Primary School are making a stand for better health, thanks to the addition of some innovative new desks.
The standing desks, which allow the children to stand and move while they work, have been put through their paces as part of a special trial. They have been provided by UK company,
I Want A Standing Desk, which was the first in the country to design such desks specifically for children.
More than 500 primary schools across the UK are currently using the standing desks and view them as a key part of their active learning strategies. These schools consistently report seeing improvements in behaviour, concentration and engagement levels, as well as neater handwriting and increased productivity.
The Academy Head, Mrs Debbie Thomas at Rendlesham Primary School commented: “We know that for younger children especially, the more active we can make their learning, the more engaged they will be. It is also really important that we encourage young people to be as healthy and active as possible, which is why we were interested in trialling the desks. The desks support our school ethos where character development is at the heart of all we do, the impact for our children is already noticeable, and we are excited to be a part of this trial.”
Government statistics show that almost 10% of reception age children (age 4-5) are currently obese, while more than 13% are overweight. By age 10-11, these figures rise to 21% and 14.1% respectively.
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, explains: “Introducing more movement into the school day is something that can benefit all pupils, including individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other neurodiverse conditions.
“What we consistently hear from teachers is that concentration levels have improved, disruption has reduced and importantly, the children very much enjoy using the standing desks. Not to mention the health benefits gained from increasing their physical activity levels.”
Nick continued: “We are creating a generation of habitual sitters and I believe classroom standing desks can help with that. Studies in the UK and USA have shown a tremendous benefit in schools where they are used.”
The standing desks can be placed on top of any existing desk, are portable and only take up the space of a single child. They are also quick and easy to assemble; something the children are encouraged to do themselves.
Spend time in any classroom and a phrase you are likely to hear is ‘sit down’ - but that’s not the case at one forward-thinking primary school in Tower Hamlets.
Pupils at Mayflower Primary School are being encouraged to explore what works best for them, when it comes to how they complete their learning. This includes having access to a range of different desks, seating options and workspaces, which they can use as they wish.
Standing desks are one addition that has proved very popular. Rather than needing to remain seated for traditional sedentary tasks, such as handwriting, the standing desks allow the children to stand and move while they learn. They have been provided by UK company, I Want A Standing Desk, which was the first in the country to design such desks specifically for children.
More than 500 primary schools across the UK are currently using standing desks, with teaching staff recording improvements in behaviour, concentration and engagement levels, as well as neater handwriting and increased productivity.
For Mayflower Primary School, which is rated Outstanding and was also named State Primary School of the Year 2021, the desks are a vital tool for aiding engagement and inclusion.
Heba Al-Jayoosi, Assistant Head (Inclusion), explains: “We’re always keen to try anything that might support us in meeting the sensory needs of different learners in our school.
“We already knew that some children preferred to stand, while others were constant movers, so when an occupational therapist recommended we look into standing desks, we decided to arrange a free trial. It proved so successful that we’ve since introduced standing desks in every classroom.”
Heba continued: “It’s no secret that children need to move and expecting them to sit on the carpet or at desks for prolonged periods of time can make them at best distracted, at worst disruptive. But do they really need to sit still at all during their learning? If they wobble, bounce, lean, rock or stand do they learn any less? That’s certainly not been our experience.
“Giving children a choice about how and where they learn and the opportunity to explore what works best for them, has had a hugely positive impact. In the case of the standing desks, it has been transformational, helping pupils to maintain attention and boosting their energy levels.”
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, commented: “It’s wonderful to be working with such a progressive and forward-thinking school as Mayflower Primary. For some pupils, such as those with additional needs, sitting still can be a real struggle and our desks can really help. But having the choice to stand up can positively impact on all pupils in a classroom, which is something we consistently hear from schools.”
Nick added: “Childhood obesity is also on the rise and with sedentariness increasing as a result of the pandemic, the more we can encourage children to get up and out of their seats, the better. Plus, no child was born to sit still. They’re simply not programmed that way!”
Led by Heba Al-Jayoosi, through a Churchill Fellowship grant, Mayflower school is designing and leading on a research project looking at flexible seating in schools and its impact for those with autism. The results of the study - which is the first of its kind in a mainstream UK school - will be revealed later this year.
Pupils at 33 primary schools in Croydon are set to benefit from the use of standing desks, as part of a special initiative introduced by Croydon Local Authority, which aims to improve support for children with special needs.
With a standing desk, rather than needing to remain seated for traditionally sedentary activities, such as writing, pupils can move whilst they learn. In the case of children with ADHD and other neurodiverse conditions that are typically associated with ‘hyperactivity’, being able move has been shown to aid learning ability, concentration and behaviour.
As part of Croydon LA’s ‘Locality SEND Support programme’, 15 schools were initially invited to take part in a trial of the standing desks. This proved so successful that it is due to be extended to all 33 of the programme’s partner schools.
The Locality SEND Support programme provides early, targeted help for SEND pupils. This early help may be in the form of advice, school-to-school support, referrals to specialist services and funding for additional resources. While the programme has initially focused on 33 partner schools, it will be extended to all mainstream schools in Croydon over the next 18 months.
Innovation sits at the heart of the programme and partner schools are encouraged to share ideas and to think about the question ‘what more could we be doing?’. This led one SENCO to express an interest in using standing desks in the classroom.
Two EIGER Student Standing Desks were subsequently offered to 15 schools for an initial four-week period. At the end of the trial, all the schools requested to keep the desks, having seen improvements in areas including pupil behaviour, concentration, confidence and wellbeing. The desks have all been fully funded by the Locality SEND Support programme.
Keran Currie, Area SENCO Leader of the programme, commented: “We actively encourage SENCOs to think outside the box and let us know about new innovations and resources that may aid inclusion and support individuals in their care. We strongly believe that the earlier we can help a student, the better the outcome, and there is ‘no one-size-fits-all’ - it’s about making sure we provide the best education, while meeting individual needs within that.
“The EIGER standing desks have proven to be an instant hit! We’ve been blown away by the feedback from teachers, but also from parents and pupils, so extending the trial to all our schools was a natural next step.”
She continued: “We’re incredibly proud of the work we’re doing with schools. Our model is already generating a lot of interest from other local councils, who are considering ways they might develop their own version of the scheme.”
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, who designed and supplied the desks for Croydon LEA, commented: “We’re delighted to be working with the team at Croydon on this innovative programme and the feedback received from the schools has been amazing.
“For some children, sitting still takes a huge amount of effort and energy. By using a standing desk and allowing them to use it when they wish, they can instead direct this energy towards their learning and this has a positive impact, not just for them, but for the class as a whole. We look forward to working with the next cohort of schools in the new term.”
The EIGER standing desks sit on top of an existing desk and only take up the space of a single child. More than 500 primary schools across the UK are currently using them and consistently report seeing improvements in behaviour, concentration and engagement levels, as well as neater handwriting and increased productivity.
We have a strong relationship with the ADHD Foundation and have done for years. At the very first meeting we had with them at their HQ in Liverpool, Tony Lloyd their CEO told me how for years they had been advising schools, teachers and parents to let these children stand and move in class.
Earlier this year in lockdown we did a Zoom interview with Colin Foley who is their Director of Training asking him why standing desks and movement help children with ADHD learn better in class and impact their learning outcomes.
This is it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKkvcBGejLY&t=213s
We hope you find it informative and insightful.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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?
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!
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!
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!
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!
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
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.
- 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.”
“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
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.
By letting the children turn their standard sitting desks in to a “den”. We like it!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
But 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.
Handwriting? 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).
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.
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.
In 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!
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?
Kindergartens 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.”
The 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.”