Children's behaviour and the design of school furniture

G Knight, J Noyes


Children spend a large part of their school days in the classroom, and yet the effect of the design of school furniture on their behaviour and health has received comparatively little attention in the UK. An experimental study is reported that compares the effects on children's behaviour and sitting position of traditional classroom furniture with a recently designed chair known as 'Chair 2000' and associated tables. It was found that children showed a modest but significant improvement in on-task behaviour and a marked change in sitting positions following the introduction of the newly-designed furniture. However, these benefits need to be considered in the light of polarized opinion for and against the new furniture, and a high level of reported incidence of back pain significantly related to the frequency of non-standard sitting. In the absence of radically redesigned furniture, it is suggested that children should be given more choice in their seating, and better guidance should be given to individuals involved in education in order to inform their decision-making about classroom furniture and the postural, anthropometric and orthopaedic aspects of sitting and related activities.


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