This picture should look familiar…it was the evenly spaced grid pattern you saw every morning growing up walking into class. This space personified structure, QUIET, and organization. However, it also facilitated some note passing and a good nap once in a while. While this model worked for us, things are looking UP for the next generation.
If you know one thing about pediatrics, it is that they like to move. Teachers and parents have spent an enormous amount of energy trying to get their kids to settle down and pay attention. Workstation design is evolving to help in this process, by letting kids sit…stand…move…without compromising the learning process. Organizations like Standup Kids and Stand2learn are leading the charge to improve pediatric health.
Here are some statistics from the website (http://standupkids.org/our-mission/):
- The average U.S. student is sitting an average of 4.5 hours/day at school and (for kids ages 8-18) an additional 7 plus hours/day in front of a screen, regardless of socioeconomic status. Combine that with time spent doing homework, sitting at the dinner table, and driving to and from school, and our kids are spending nearly 85% of their waking hours in sedentary positions.
- The problem is so bad that medical experts now equate sitting with smoking, saying that sitting as little as two hours continuously increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, back and neck pain (among other orthopedic problems) and will literally shorten your life, just like smoking.
- It turns out that tacking on regular exercise (soccer practice, gymnastics class, etc.) to an otherwise sedentary life doesn’t overcome the negative effects of too much sitting. Accordingly, we must create ways for children to be continually moving more throughout the day.
Still not convinced? Maybe you are resistant to change? How about if I told you that studies have also shown boosts in cognitive development and academic achievement:
Here are some kid-centered designs to check out:
So lets spread the word…because healthy kids make healthy adults!