Most primary schools have strict rules and regulations that youngsters must follow in the classroom to make the most of their school days.
One East London primary school is challenging these usual norms to help meet the unique needs of each and every student.
Pupils at Mayflower Primary School in Tower Hamlets are being encouraged to explore what works best for them when it comes to how they complete their learning.
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This includes having access to a range of different desks, seating options and workspaces, which they can use as they wish.
Standing desks have proved very popular amongst the Mayflower Primary kids – rather than needing to remain seated for day-to-day tasks, the standing desks allow the children to move while they learn.
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The desks were provided by UK company I Want A Standing Desk , which was the first in the country to design such desks specifically for children.
More than 400 primary schools across the UK are currently using standing desks, with teaching staff recording improvements in behaviour, concentration and engagement levels, as well as neater handwriting and increased productivity.
For Mayflower Primary School, which was named State Primary School of the Year 2021, the desks are a vital tool for aiding engagement and inclusion.
Assistant Head Heba Al-Jayoosi told MyLondon: “We’re always keen to try anything that might support us in meeting the sensory needs of different learners in our school.
“It’s no secret that children need to move and expecting them to sit on the carpet or at desks for prolonged periods of time can make them at best distracted, at worst disruptive.
“But do they really need to sit still at all during their learning? If they wobble, bounce, lean, rock or stand do they learn any less? That’s certainly not been our experience.
“Giving children a choice about how and where they learn and the opportunity to explore what works best for them, has had a hugely positive impact.”
Nick White, founder of I Want A Standing Desk, said it’s a pleasure to be working with such a progrsesive school as Mayflower Primary.
“For some pupils, such as those with additional needs, sitting still can be a real struggle and our desks can really help,” Nick explained.
“But having the choice to stand up can positively impact on all pupils in a classroom, which is something we consistently hear from schools.”
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Nick added: “Childhood obesity is also on the rise and with sedentariness increasing as a result of the pandemic, the more we can encourage children to get up and out of their seats, the better. Plus, no child was born to sit still. They’re simply not programmed that way!”
Led by Heba Al-Jayoosi, through a Churchill Fellowship grant, Mayflower school is designing and leading on a research project looking at flexible seating in schools and its impact for those with autism.
The results of the study – which is the first of its kind in a mainstream UK school – will be revealed later this year.
What do you make of this innovative approach to the classroom? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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