“Learning Furniture”. No matter how you paint the picture current funding of Australian Schools limits that which educators can do to change the learning environment that our kids grow up in. So what can you do on a budget, & how can you make a furniture budget spread that little bit further?
With the end of the financial Year looming and school budgets coming to the end, Aussie schools are looking towards the New Year and the question of will New Year funding be adequate to cover the “must-do’s”, and some of their “want-to-do” projects.
Of all those occupations that exist in Australia, Schools form the largest population of individuals engaged in the same/similar activity on a regular daily basis, ie sitting in a classroom enviroment. Yet on a per head basis we spend less as a nation on students and the classroom environment then we do with any other occupation. Just look at the price of Office Chairs vs Classroom Chairs. Incredible really when you consider that which we as a nation expect of the end result.
So how do schools cope with limited budgets?
As an outsider looking in, creativity in the classroom extends way beyond that stimulated by teachers and that produced by school children. Pleasingly the challenge of lifting the learning experience in the classroom is being met with huge efforts and in the most creative ways by our schools on a daily basis. But does it have to be that hard?
Classroom furniture, or “learning furniture” forms a significant part of the over all learning experience. Ask any teacher and they will tell you how hard it is to hold a child’s attention during class, a job made harder as a result of uncomfortable, incorrectly sized and or damaged furniture, the furniture that we want to call “learning furniture”.
Updating existing classroom furniture isn’t all that expensive and certainly not all that hard. In an ideal situation stripping out the old and replacing it with new furniture is an easy answer however it isn’t always possible, especially when the budget doesn’t stretch that far. So how can schools lift the classroom environment and improve their “learning furniture”?
Looking at a typical school classroom tables, desks, chairs and display boards form a significant part of the environment and a good place to start when looking at ways to improve the overall learning experience.
Replacing work surfaces is a really good start. Table and desk tops form a major part of the overall visual experience in a classroom, replacing old damaged table/desk tops with nice clean new tops goes a long way, without the cost of replacing the whole desk or table. Its easy to do, relatively cheap to do, and the end result is significant. Take one step further and consider increasing the desk top size’s, it doesn’t cost too much more to fit a 600mm square top then it does to refit a 600mmx 450mm desk top, and your students will thank you.
While on the subject of desks, replacing those old dirty Tote Trays is cheap and an effective way to lift the look of an existing school desk… Note Tote trays are available in colours other then white, white tote trays get dirty so fast, consider black tote trays or dark grey, they don’t show the marks and look better longer.
Where it comes to chairs. Its not that easy to service one piece moulded chairs., simply they are either right or they go in the bin. In the case of steel frame chairs, sorting out things like missing floor glides, bent and wobbly frames, and making sure existing chair heights are sized correctly both for the student and the desk they are positioned at, all goes a significant way in improving the overall classroom experience. Note classroom chairs are less visual and more comfort orientated so sorting out the small issues with existing furniture may be all thats needed.
So in reality its pretty simple to drive more from your money by improving your existing “learning furniture”, making the whole learning experience better for students and staff.
Linc offers a wide range of table tops, different sizes and shapes, it also can assist you with replacement tidy trays, steel frames etc, all at a lot less cost then replacing your desks. Our service may also extend to fitting your new components, call, email or contact us through our web site and ask now how Linc can assist you.