It’s not often that you come away from a conversation with someone having gained a whole new perspective on something. But this is exactly what happened to me the other week when I met Nick White for a coffee on Zoom. Nick is Managing Director and Founder of ‘I Want a Standing Desk/ EIGER standing Desks’. Standing desks are, as the name suggests, desks that you can use whilst standing. And Nick was chatting to me about the benefits of standing desks for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). I went into the meeting thinking ‘Yes, I’m sure this will be interesting and standing desks will probably be a nice thing to try’ and came out thinking ‘ Wow! Why on earth are children sitting down all the time in lessons?’.
What do I like about their EIGER standing desk?
- Great for children who need movement – The thing that struck me the most about these standing desks is, their real potential to make learning easier for children who need to be moving more. I suppose you could argue that’s pretty much all children (are they really designed to be sat at desks?) but I’m thinking more specifically children in their first couple of years of primary school who have gone from predominantly play-based continuous provision to now having to produce written work at a desk…but aren’t quite ready (whether it be due to their gross motor skills or concentration skills). And this may also include children with SEND, for example, some children with ADHD. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s witnessed children really trying hard sat at a desk writing, but never looking settled, always re-positioning themselves, sitting part on the chair part off and subsequently losing focus. In my experience, they are in need of movement. Previously I would have just said they need a sensory/movement break or maybe an adjustment such as a wobble cushion to help them focus, but I’m now going to add these standing desks to my repertoire of suggestions. Not only does standing up at a desk allow for improved concentration (in my experience) but just watch yourself when you stand up for a period of time and you’ll notice you never actually stand still, you’re constantly making tiny movements to hold yourself upright and in the correct position – this movement could be exactly what some children need.
- Reduces behaviour problems – A lot of problems with low level behaviour in classrooms are as a result of lack of concentration or difficulties with concentration. I therefore can see that these standing desks would have a really positive impact on behaviour in the classroom. They help children to concentrate and give them the freedom to be stood up and move a little.
- Improves handwriting- One thing I noticed when trying this out with children was how much it has helped improve handwriting. Being stood up and writing enables children more freedom of movement, comfort and a better position to write in and in turn this is reflected in their hand writing. I’d go as far as saying it makes writing easier for many children.
- Healthier – From a health perspective, there’s huge benefits to not being sat down all the time. We already know that being sedentary for long periods of time isn’t good for anyones health and therefore I can see that standing desks really have the potential to improve children’s overall health and well being. They are a really simple way of introducing movement into your classroom whilst still ensuring the lesson outcomes are met.
- High Quality – I was really impressed with the quality of the EIGER standing desks. Made from strong 18mm birch plywood with a protective clear lacquer finish. It looks lovely, is made in the UK, has a ten year guarantee, 100% recyclable and easy to wipe clean ( a real must for school desks!). It also looks nice, children will feel that they are a real treat to use.
- Flat Pack – When you think about buying a standing desk, I don’t know about you, but my first thought was is it going to be really bulky? And where will I keep it? But the EIGER standing desks are incredible. Even though they are made of really lovely high quality wood, they are still completely flat pack. They cleverly fold back up into their bag and are so easy to set up. (Just to give you an idea of ease of set up, I managed to set mine up whilst I was on the phone in about 3 minutes…and I struggle with things like this!). The flat pack benefit isn’t just limited to being able to put it away compactly, it also means its really portable. You could very easily, for example, move it from one classroom to another or take it to and from school.
- Adjustable – One huge advantage of the EIGER standing desks over other brands is that this one is fully adjustable. It converts any desk into a standing desk and has different height levels – meaning it is suitable for all ages. We also really loved that it has a a groove at the back that you can prop a text book in, making it fantastic for taking notes, answering written questions etc. basically anything where you need to refer to a book whilst writing.
- Try before you buy – With school budgets tight it can be hard to make the decision to invest in new resources, especially if you’ve not tried them out before. Thankfully, they offer schools a free 4-week trial – so you can try them out with your classes for a whole month before having to make the decision to purchase them. You can find out more about how the trial works here
- Great for at home or school- The EIGER standing desk isn’t just brilliant for classrooms, we’ve found it really useful at home for homework tasks too. I found it much easier being able to persuade my own children to work on it rather than the kitchen table. It’s much more comfortable and let’s be honest…the last thing children want to do after a day at school is sit down at a desk again!
- For adults too– Whilst the aim of this review was to focus on the benefits for children, I couldn’t help but question whilst trialling it, ‘should I be sat down whilst working?’ I remembered seeing Nick stood up for our whole meeting using his standing desk. I also have friends who have been contemplating them for working at home. So I’ve been trying it out myself and it is safe to say I am well and truly converted to them! I feel healthier, more alert when working and my back doesn’t ache!
Find out more about the EIGER standing desks on their website here . You can also follow them on social media twitter @StandingDeskUK Facebook @iwantastandingdesk.com and Instagram @eiger_standing_desks
Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can Do About it by James A. Levine.
If you are interested in why sitting is so damaging then why not have a little look into this book.
The idea of a standing desk for children with SEND makes complete sense.
It may also be the savior of many of us who are chairbound and slumping into obesity, poor circulation and brain fog.
We are not designed to be sitting for hours at a time. Standing improves circulation and concentration.