These guidelines outline the preferred dimensions of classroom furniture for all grade levels and ages. Obviously children in the Early Years settings, through to Primary and Secondary level have very different needs in terms of sizing. This guide also provides some helpful tips to buying classroom furniture in terms of quality and design. Student furniture size is an important criteria in your planning.
We use the following three criteria to determine student furniture size:
Student Height: The distance between the floor and the top of a child’s head
Table height: Measured from the floor to the underside of the elbow when sitting down (with the lower arm in a straight horizontal position).
Seat height: Measured from the floor to the back of the knee (with thighs position horizontally and feet flat on the floor).
A Guide to Student Furniture Size
Early Years/Kindergarten/Nursery Furniture Size
Chair height: 260mms / 10.25 inches
Desk height: 460mms / 18.11 inches
Student Height: 95 -115 cms / 37.4-45.27 inches
Early Years/Kindergarten/Reception Furniture Size
Chair height: 310mms /12.2 inches
Desk height: 530mms / 20.86 inches
Student Height: 110 – 120 cms / 43.3 – 78.74
Primary School/Elementary School Furniture Size
Chair height: 350mms / 13.78 inches
Desk height: 590mms / 23.23 inches
Student Height: 120-140cms / 47.24 – 55..12 inches
Primary School/Elementary School Furniture Size
Chair height: 380mms / 14.96 inches
Desk height: 640mms / 25.197 inches
Student Height: 130 – 160 cms / 51.18 – 63 inches
Middle School/ Secondary School Furniture Size
Chair height: 430mms / 16.93 inches
Desk height: 710mms / 27.95 inches
Student Height: 145-175cms / 57.08 – 68.9 inches
Secondary School Furniture Size
Chair height: 460mms / 18.11 inches
Desk heigh: 760mms / 29.92 inches
Student Height: 160 -190 cms / 63 – 74.8 inches
How to Choose Classroom Furniture
Student furniture size is only one consideration……
Is the Furniture Mobile and Functional?
Sometimes the teacher may choose a traditional classroom set up. Desks and chairs lined up in rows serve a purpose, however many dynamic teachers like to change the space to help match the learning environment required at the time. Ideally, children and educators should be able to change the dynamics and space layout. Furniture that is lightweight, easy to move around, and highly durable is the best option for modern classrooms. There is an option for every budget and even modest furniture can meet this criteria. There are also premium options such as the excellent Steelcase designs that are very innovative and we would describe as best practice.
Flexibility and Innovation
As adults we know that there are many ways, places and times that we learn best. Sometimes we need quite independent time. Other times we need to collaborate and discuss things. Sometimes we stand, sometimes we sit. In fact sometimes we eat lunch, drink coffee and multitasks a number of responsibilities, all in ways that maximise learning. Cafeterias are in fact a popular place for students to collaborate, socialise and learn. Think outside of the box and focus on being flexible and innovative. Make spaces interchangeable. “What is a classroom” after all? Learn more about innovation designs here.
Strength, Stability and Ergonomics
Comfortable and healthy on posture. Strong, durable and of course stable. These things are all important considerations. Inexpensive solutions sometimes satisfy these things but remember that students are tough on furniture. Make sure you too would happily use these items for extended time periods and make sure the designs maximise learning and engagement.
If you want to learn more about the steps required to set up a school check out some of our other articles:
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