The decor of a classroom goes a long way in establishing the tone and feel of the learning environment. Children are particularly susceptible to their surroundings and will disengage in an instant, so it is important to engage them instantly, providing a stimulating setting in which to learn. Classrooms have the benefit of being blank canvases, empty spaces in which to firmly stamp an impression, so it is imperative to make sure the furniture that fills these spaces perfectly suits its purpose, creating an area to inspire productivity and maximise potential.
How should it look?
Primarily, the decision on what furniture to include will begin with its look. Is it aesthetically sensitive to its surroundings? Doesit fit the style and ethos of the rest of the school? Continuity is important, so be sure to consider how any new items of furniture fit with existing pieces. If the budget is limited, and a whole school refit is not possible, consider refitting different areas in stages, updating the furniture with fresh items that complement existing items within the school.
How does it feel?
Children in particular, are more in tune with their senses. Research supports the view that mental capacity for learning is unconsciously improved by furniture that is sensitive to touch. This needs to be coupled with the requirement for hard-wearing and durable surfaces, so the material choice for individual items of furniture is crucial. It must feel comfortable and satisfy a range of needs. Whether catering for younger children exploring the boundaries of their early artistic creativity, or for older students sitting and studying for longer periods of time, each individual item of furniture should be a pleasant place to spend time.
How much does it cost?
School budgets are increasingly stretched which often results in compromise being made within the classroom. For those who don’t properly understand the impact of effective classroom design, school furniture can rapidly slip down the order of priority. When deciding on how to distribute funds, it is crucial to buy good quality items. The old adage of ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ is never more pertinent than in a school setting, items demonstrating poor build quality and design will not last long when subjected to the rigorous demands of day to day school life.
A new classroom means more than just ordering new furniture
A classroom refit is a unique opportunity to completely transform the way in which a class experiences learning. The temptation is to simply replace existing furniture with like for like replacements. But to do this is to miss an opportunity for total transformation. Carefully decide what currently works with the space, and don’t be afraid to fix the things that could work better by implementing seemingly radical changes. Think outside of the box and establish a learning environment that maximises impact for all stakeholders. A classroom refit can be the impetus for a whole school culture shift, providing the provision to take children’s learning in an innovative and exciting new direction