Standing desks are really starting to make a name for themselves. We expect to see them at small start-up companies looking for young and creative talent. And of course we expect them at Google and Facebook leaders among their industries. But what about in an elementary school classroom? What would your children think if they walked into their rooms and found standing desks stools and yoga balls in place of their typical desk and desk chair?
For some schools replacing standard computer desks with standing desks was a no-brainer. In 2012 more than one-third of children and adolescents were considered to be obese and sitting all day in a classroom sure doesn't help. With children spending the majority of their days in school I'd say that these school leaders have the right idea. Having children stand for part of their day could have an incredible and positive impact on their physical health.
A pilot study of young children using standing desks was conducted in Texas and published in the American Journal of Public Health. One of the researchers Monica Wendel says that children do not want to be sedentary but often times adults unwittingly encourage the unhealthy habit. Most classrooms don't allow for children to fidget or move around at all. Kids are told to sit still but that's just not in their nature. So when standing desks were placed in Texas schools students got a new way to release and receive more energy throughout their day. First graders using the standing desks actually increased the amount of calories burned during a typical school day.
Schools all over the country are experimenting with this new kind of classroom. Teachers in Minnesota and Wisconsin said that their students were able to expend energy while standing which allowed them to focus on their schoolwork rather than focus all of their energy and attention on sitting still. Wisconsin teacher Pam Seekel noted that her 5th graders were no longer laying their heads down on their desks in the middle of the day. They seemed to have more energy and avoided that afternoon slump. Most of these experiments involved adjustable height desks so kids could sit or stand as they needed.
Just imagine how much more creative and energetic our children could be if standing desks become the norm in classrooms all over the country. Consider talking to your school leaders about an experiment in their own classrooms. For more information on adjustable height desks and its benefits to your health read more of our UpDesk blog.