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Thursday, June 05, 2014


This information is a reprint from the Carpet and Rug Institute. It has some great information about why you should consider a rug for your classroom.  

Making the right decisions starts with having the facts. There is a lot of information about carpet in schools, but it’s important to have the right information, supported by scientific study. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the source for science-based facts on carpet and rugs, wants you to have that information at your fingertips.  

That way, we believe you will understand how carpet has clear advantages over other flooring from reducing noise in classrooms, to proving more cost-effective over time to helping improve indoor air quality. Carpet and rugs in schools contribute to a better environment for students, teachers and all school personnel in several critical ways:

Noise reduction - Research shows that background noise from inside and outside the classroom negatively affects learning, especially for young children who require optimal conditions for hearing and comprehension. As a result, school districts, voluntarily or by state mandate, are adopting classroom acoustics standards. Carpet helps meet these standards because it is 10 times more efficient in reducing noise compared to other flooring options.

Safety - Carpet cushions the impact of slips and falls and lessens the chance of injury. This is borne out by a study of 225 “slip and fall incidents” from hospital records of older patients. Of the group falling on carpet, only 17 percent sustained injury. In the group falling on hard surface flooring, nearly 50 percent sustained injury. 2 Injuries from falls not only lead to absenteeism, but also pose liability issues for schools.

Warmth and Comfort - Carpet “feels” warmer in two ways. It provides actual thermal resistance, or R-value. In an independent study, carpet, compared to other flooring materials, created a truly warmer building.3 But beyond the R-value advantage, people perceive that carpet is warmer and more comfortable. Carpet or rugs produce a comfortable place for teachers and young students to expand their learning space onto the floor. A majority of public school teachers surveyed in 2001 said they preferred carpet for its comfort, noise reduction and safety benefits.

Improved indoor Air Quality - Effective school cleaning has health-related benefits. Carpet traps allergens and other particles that fall to the floor so they don’t circulate in the air. Studies have been done on the distribution of airborne dust associated with normal activities on hard and carpeted flooring surfaces. Their findings showed that walking on hard surfaces disturbed more particles. These particles became airborne and entered the breathing zone. In contrast, carpeted surfaces trapped more particles so that walking disturbed fewer particles, resulting in less dust in the breathing zone.

What to Know about Carpet Costs and Maintenance:

Cost Effective over Time - Carpet that is properly selected, installed and maintained lasts up to 10 years — or even longer. And right now, the carpet industry is working to make carpet even longer lasting in schools by creating more durable fibers and fabrication methods, improving primary and secondary backings and increasing the number of different design and performance options. For example, modular carpets provide the option of replacing parts of a carpeted surface, instead of the entire carpet.

Even so, with increasing pressure on school district budgets, school administrators and facility managers want to know they are getting the best value when making flooring purchasing decisions. A life cycle cost analysis is the key to answering this question. A 2002 report, “Life-cycle Cost Analysis for Floor Covering in School Facilities,” prepared by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), found that carpet could be 65 percent less expensive to maintain than hard surface flooring.

In the study, buying and installing the hard surface flooring was less expensive than carpet. But when labor, supplies and equipment costs were calculated over a 22-year life cycle, carpet proved to be more cost effective. Twenty-two years was the life expectancy of the hard surface flooring. The cost of replacing carpet after 11 years was factored into the analysis.

The study also found that hard surface floors require two and one-half times more cleaning than carpet and that hard surface cleaning supplies are about seven times more expensive than supplies for carpeted floors.

Using the Right Cleaning Products - Carpets are more stain resistant than ever, making them easier to clean and maintain. However, maintaining the life and beauty of carpet depends on several factors: the quality of products and equipment used to clean carpets; the frequency and methods by which carpets are cleaned; and the skill and knowledge of the people doing the cleaning.

Vacuuming is the single most effective and economical means of keeping carpet in schools clean. The majority of dry soil can be removed from carpet by following scheduled, routine vacuuming procedures. Through independent testing, CRI certifies high performance vacuums that are effective in removing soil and keeping dust and other particles within the canister so they do not circulate back into the air. A list of them can be found at carpet-rug.org.

In caring for carpet, schools are advised to follow a regular maintenance program. Daily vacuuming is advised for carpeted areas with heavy foot traffic. Other areas should be vacuumed two or three times a week. Twice a year, carpet should undergo extraction cleaning by trained custodians or professional cleaning services. Suggested times are just prior to the school year and during winter holiday break.

CRI also utilizes an independent laboratory to test high performing extractors and cleaning agents that remove stains and spots. Choosing the right cleaning products is critical to carpet care because some products and equipment are much more effective than others. Only those products that meet rigorous standards receive the CRI Seal of Approval. A list of Seal of Approval certified carpet-cleaning products is available at carpet-rug.org.
More about Carpet in the Classroom:

It is true that new carpet can emit volatile organic compounds into the air at very low levels – much lower levels than floor adhesives or paint. To keep emissions to a minimum, schools should only purchase carpet that bears the CRI Green Label or Green Label Plus, which certifies the carpet has met the rigorous testing standards for low-emitting materials. Green Label Plus meets and even exceeds the standard set by the Collaborative for High Performing Schools and the state of California. Green Label and Green Label Plus carpets and their manufacturers are listed on carpet-rug.org.

Another issue is that of carpet and mold. Clean carpet does not support mold growth even at prolonged and elevated temperatures. For mold to grow, it needs water, oxygen, a warm temperature and something that contains nutrients to feed on, such as dirt, wood or paper. Left unresolved, leaks and spills, heavy condensation and localized flooding, especially when followed by prolonged high humidity, can lead to mold growth in many areas of a school.

The key to eliminating mold indoors is to keep schools clean and dry.

Creating and maintaining a positive learning environment is a shared responsibility. We at CRI are committed to conducting research and providing information that will help principals, teachers, facility managers and parents make informed decisions about school materials and furnishings.
Available through CRI:
The following reference materials are available through CRI and can be ordered or accessed for free by visiting the following webpages:
• carpet-rug.org – “Research” and “Publications” sections
• carpet-rug.org/schools Publications
• Beautiful Spaces for Children: Building High Performance Schools (video)
• Carpet and Rug Care Guide
• Carpet: How it Affects Indoor Air Quality in Schools (video)
• Carpet – The Educated Choice for Schools – Life-Cycle Cost Analysis
• Carpet Maintenance for School Facilities
• Carpet Maintenance Guidelines for Commercial Applications
• Myths and Truths about Carpet – a reference guide to identifying the misconceptions surrounding carpet
• CRI 104 – Standard for Installation Specification of Commercial Carpet
• CRI Sustainability Report
• Take a deep breath and thank your custodian – Tips and tools for improving IAQ in schools
• Why test vacuum cleaners Abstracts, Studies, and Relevant Papers
• Carpet in the Modern Indoor Environment: Summary of a Science-Based Assessment of Carpet
• Ergonomic Design Issues and Carpet: A Review
• The Impact of Carpet on Indoor Air Quality and Health Effects: An Annotated Bibliography
• Carpets, Rugs and Health - A Current Perspective
• Floor Coverings, Dust and Airborne Contaminants
• Microorganisms in Carpet
• Measurement of Biocontaminant Levels in Two Schools: The Impact of Carpet vs. Hard Floor Covering
• Retention and Removal of House Dust Contaminants from Carpet: Integrating our Knowledge of Source Dusts, Carpet Properties, and Carpet Cleaning for a Healthier Indoor Environment
• The Science of Carpet Cleaning
• Cases of Effective Carpet Cleaning
• A Systems Modeling Approach to Assessing Carpet and Environmental Risk
• Cleaning and Foot Traffic Emissions Analysis
• Educational Performance, Environmental Management, and Cleaning Effectiveness in School Environments
• Healthy School Environment and Enhanced Educational Performance: The Case of Charles Young Elementary School Washington, DC
• Indoor Environment Characterization of a Non-Problem Building: Assessment of Cleaning Effectiveness
• Cleaning Effectiveness Demonstration In A Carpet School
• Final Report of the Hydrolab Project 2001: Flooring, Humidity, and Mold Growth
• “Carpets in schools don’t compromise indoor air quality, says Cornell researcher”
• “CU expert: Carpets in schools benefit indoor air quality”
• A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Floor Coverings in School Facilities
• Ideal Learning Environment Study
• Do Indoor Pollutants and Thermal Conditions in Schools Influence Student Performance? A Critical Review of the Literature
• Relationship Between Outdoor and Indoor Air Quality in Eight French Schools.
• Effect of Flooring on Standing Comfort and Fatigue.
• Experimental Methodologies and Preliminary Transfer Factor Data for Estimation of Dermal Exposures to Particles
• Classroom Acoustics: A Resource for Creating Learning Environments with Desirable Listening Conditions
• The Influence of Flooring on Standing Comfort and Fatigue
• Peak Flow Variability in Asthmatic Children is not Related to Wall-to-wall Carpeting on Classroom Floors
• Relationship of Reported Allergy Symptoms, Relative Humidity and Airborne Biologicals in Thirteen Florida Classrooms

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Even Bears Like our Hammocks!

People know that they should keep their distance from bears. They usually will leave us alone unless they feel threatened or are protecting their cubs. However one bear must have needed a little "me time" as seen in this video at 
http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/31/us/florida-bear-in-hammock/. 













You can relax just like the Floridian bear in a wonderful La Siesta Hammock. Whether it's a hammock for one, two or for the whole family we've got you covered. We also have hammocks with spreader bars that some prefer over the standard banana style hammocks like on Gilligan's Island. We also have hanging kits and hammock stands to get you chillaxin' fast.















SensoryEdge is proud to offer the worlds best hammocks made by La Siesta. They create little details that make their products stand out and unique. Everyone who lies down in a LA SIESTA hammock lets his or her hands glide over the fabric with closed eyes.
















Special processing provides the materials with their unique characteristics. While the fabric is usually finished on modern looms, the suspension parts and ropes are handcrafted in many steps.




















Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Art Easels bring out the creative side in your students

Teachers are charged not only with helping students achieve academic goals and milestones, but also with giving students a creative way to express themselves. Art brings out the best in students and allows teachers to see the talents and personality of each student. 

Because of this, teachers love having easels in the classroom. Easels Make Great Art Centers Having an art center is an important aspect of a classroom. Students can express themselves in a way that is all their own. Along with easels, art centers can include paper, paints, paintbrushes, crayons, makers, or colored pencils. Teachers can assign an art project to reinforce a lesson or theme. Or a teacher can assign “free” drawing time. When a student is finished the teacher can discuss the drawing with them or allow them to present it to the class. 

Easels are a fun way for students to take pride in their work. Easels Work In Any Size Classroom Many people think of an easel in the traditional way: a one sided work surface that displays artwork. Well, easels have come a long way. Easels come in many different sizes and allow single or multiple students to work. Easels such as the 2 Station Child’s Easel allows two students to work at once. 

The 4 Station Space Saver Easel allows four students to work at once. Both have plenty of storage space for each student’s supplies. Easels Work for Any Size Student Many of the best easels are adjustable. This allows students who are younger to work on the same easel as older students. It also allows for special needs students who may need to sit or may be in a wheelchair to be able to work at an easel. 

The 3 Way Adjustable Easel adjusts from 36” to over 46” to accommodate any size student. Adjustable easels are a great money saving option for schools where many students will share the same easels. 

Easels Allows for Many Different Types of Activities Easels are not just for painting. Though painting is an option, easels are very versatile when it comes to the type of art work and activities that can be done. Many easels come equipped with space for multiple tasks. For example, the KidKraft Deluxe Wood Easel comes with a paper dispenser for painting or drawing, a whiteboard, and a chalkboard. These types of easels give students a way to express their inner artist in different ways. 

Some easels provide a magnetic whiteboard which allows students to play with magnetic letters, magnetic word strips, or magnetic numbers to help reinforce lessons. This is a great way for students who need a little extra practice to be able to practice in a different way. Classroom art areas are always one of the most popular spots in a room. Students love and need the opportunity to express themselves in a creative, artistic way. Easels are an ideal way to bring out the artist in every student.

Monday, March 31, 2014

LA SIESTA - The premium hammock brand from Europe is now in the USA and featured at SensoryEdge

MIAMIFeb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- LA SIESTA, the premium hammock brand from Europe, now boosts a full presence in the United States and is the only company to offer a complete line of South American hammocks and hammock chairs in the USA.
LA SIESTA, with locations in the United StatesSpain and Germany, specializes in the development, marketing and distribution of hammocks and hammock chairs since 1991. LA SIESTA was founded by Dorothee and Alexander Grisar and is now managed by their sons, Maximillian, Leonid and Cornelius.
With more than 30 collections, 60 color patterns, and 15 sizes, LA SIESTA offers the most complete and extensive collection of South American hammocks and hammock chairs in the USA, not offered by anyone else in America. "What is unique about LA SIESTA, is that we are the first to offer a complete assortment of high-quality, hand-made, and branded South American hammocks in the USA. Not just a few, but an entire catalog," says Maximilian Grisar, LA SIESTA's CEO.
LA SIESTA focuses on quality in all aspects of its product offering. It uses high quality materials, such as organic cotton and follows the most stringent manufacturing standards. LA SIESTA's products are not only well manufactured; they are also original, unique, and beautiful. Great care has been put in combining hammocks and hammock chairs with matching supports and hanging kits. With its innovative line of hanging systems, LA SIESTA is the only hammock company to offer a complete line of patented hanging systems with TUV approval.

"We attend the biggest retail shows in the world and are proud to take part in this year's Toy Fair in New York. Additionally, LA SIESTA will attend the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, the OUTDOOR Retailer in Salt Lake City and the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago. We are looking forward to be a strong presence in the US as we are in Europe," says CEO, Maximilian Grisar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Foster Art & Creativity in the Classroom

Teachers can incorporate art into their lesson plans when they have furniture in the classroom to set the tone. Creative students are open to learning in many different ways.

Fostering art within students is an important aspect of teaching in the classroom. Art gives students an outlet to be creative, express themselves, and show what they have learned. It also helps to bridge connections between different concepts. Having an area in the classroom for art is important. There are many different types of kids furniture that can foster art within students. Tables and Chairs Tables and chairs can be used to foster art within the classroom. 

Teachers can set aside an area with a table and chairs and put out different art supplies each week for students to use. Students will like the excitement of seeing what items will be out and what they can create. Teachers can alternate things such as paint, play dough, markers, and drawing paper to inspire kids to create their own designs. Certain tables such as a horseshoe activity table are designed for multiple uses such as art. These types of tables are in a horseshoe shape and they give students plenty of room to work and create. They also save room in the classroom with their unique design. 

Easels are a fun way to give students a place to create and display their artwork. Many easels like a 3 Way Adjustable Easel are made for multiple students to work at once. Teachers can choose an easel that has a storage area underneath for paints, brushes, and other supplies. This will keep the area organized. Students will love displaying their artwork for everyone to see. Traditional easels are a great asset to any classroom and one way to foster art within the classroom, but there are some unique easels that do the same. 

For example, the Art Horse Drawing Bench is a bench that students can straddle. At one end there is a wood panel that allows students to lean on while drawing on a sketch pad. Items like this give students an exciting place to develop their art. Many easels are multi-purpose giving students more than one way to express themselves. Easels such as the 4 in 1 Floor Easel gives student the choice of a drawing surface, a chalkboard, and magnetic whiteboard for playing with magnets or drawing with dry erase markers. Easels give teachers many options to encourage creativity in their students. 

Pretend Play Toys Pretend play toys such as dollhouses, puppet stages, and costumes give students a place to create ideas that will turn into art. After spending time in a pretend play center, students can be encouraged to go to the art area and draw or create what they had been playing. This is a unique way to foster art in students and gives teachers a way to see what students have been learning. Their likes and dislikes will come through when creating through art. Fostering art in the classroom is an important part of teaching students to express themselves.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Classroom Organizational Secrets

Organization in a Classroom makes Happy Students
An organized classroom is a well run classroom. Many students have trouble learning in a cluttered, unorganized setting. Parents, as well, like to come into a classroom that is well organized and where everything has a place. This is easier said than done in a busy Kindergarten classroom. Kindergarteners like to learn by playing, touching, doing, and feeling. Classrooms can easily become a mess. Classroom rugs and cubbies are a great way to keep a Kindergarten classroom organized. Of course, these methods can be used well beyond the Kindergarten years.
Classroom Rugs
Classroom rugs are an ideal way to separate a classroom into sections without using large dividers that make the room look more cluttered. A large rug can fit the entire class and offers restless Kindergartners a visual boundary. Teachers can instruct students to go sit on the rug and students know immediately where to go, and what the boundaries of the area are, the outline of the rug. In this setting, teachers can do reading time, go over flashcards, or have class discussion time.
In addition to a large classroom rug, adding a few small rugs can be very useful in organizing the classroom. Small rugs are ideal for centers or small group learning. When a small group of students needs to be instructed separately or when the class needs to be broken into reading groups, the small rug is great. There is no need to move chairs or push other items aside to make room. Teachers can just send students to a small area already mark out by a rug.
Cubbies
Cubbies are another must have item in a Kindergarten classroom. Whereas older students can mostly keep themselves organized by hanging their items on hooks or putting things away inside desks, Kindergarten students are still learning. For many kindergartners, school is a brand new experience and they still need help organizing their things. Backpacks, lunch bags, coats, extra clothes, and special stuffed animals can be easily stored in cubbies.
Each cubby can be labeled with the child’s name. All the items belonging to that child as well as the papers and projects they do at school can be placed in the cubby. Cubbies do not take up much room and are a great way to keep everything organized. Parents can easily have access to the cubbies as well when dropping off or picking up students.
Cubbies aren’t just for a student’s belongings. Cubbies are also ideal for organizing classroom supplies such as toys, art supplies, construction paper, art smocks, manipulatives, and more. Many cubbies such as the Mainstream Cubby Units come with pull out plastic bins to make storing that much easier. Cubbies also offer students a way to learn responsibility for their own belongings and their classroom belongings.
Sensory Themed Area
Having a sensory theme in one area of your classroom gives students a place to get dirty and express themselves through manipulatives. Great items such as sand and water tables offer many opportunities for sensory play. Many tables can be filled with sand, plastic beads, or water giving the teacher many different options. These types of tables come in many different varieties such as small, large or movable such as the See All Sand and Water Center with Casters.
Added to a sensory themed area can be blocks. Blocks give students a chance to build whatever they can imagine. Whether building towers, houses, ramps, or their own unique idea, students will love playing with blocks and other manipulative items in an area designed just for sensory play.
Reading Themed Area
Every teacher wants students to love reading. To promote reading and the discovery of books, setting up a reading themed area is important. When it comes to kids' furniture options for this kind of theme, there are many options. Book displays such as the Single Sided Canvas Book Display are a good choice. Book displays allow students easy access to books. Instead of searching a book shelf, students can see books up close and decide what they want to read based on all the information on the cover.
Placing some chairs or bean bags in a reading themed area gives kids a fun place to sit and enjoy books. Teachers can also add some paper, pencils and crayons to this area so students can draw or write about what they just read. A reading themed area is a good way to keep all the classroom books organized.
Art Themed Area
Kids love art. Whether drawing, painting, or sculpting, art allows students a way to express their unique ideas and show their creativity. Having an art themed area in the classroom, where items such like 3 or even 4 sided easels can be used, is a great way to organize art supplies. Easels give students a chance to display their artwork and allow multiple students to work at once.
Teachers can put out a variety of art items such as paint, play dough, crayons, markers, beads, tissue paper and more. Students will feel free to create in an area designed just for art and creative expression.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Benefits of Puzzles


 
Puzzles have long been a favorite learning toy of kids, moms and educators. Giving children a variety of puzzles enhances their early childhood educational experience both at home and in school.

Here are some of the skills that are enhanced by playing with puzzles:
  1. Cognitive skills: Puzzles improve a child's problem solving and reasoning skills. It helps them to see whole-part relationships, increases their visual spacial awareness and depending on the subject matter can teach them a variety of topics like the Alphabet, Numbers, Color recognition, shape recognition, categories like pets or transportation vehicles, and more.
  2. Fine motor skills: Puzzles are fun way to improve fine motor skills. From the time a baby can start eating solid food parents give their children cheerios to help a child with their pincher grasp. Fine motor manipulation is key for writing but but children start learning this skill long before they can hold a crayon or a pencil. Various types of puzzles like peg puzzles and chunky can help teach little ones to pick up and grasp pieces and they aid in the development of the pincher grasp.
  3. Hand-eye coordination: As a child places each piece in the puzzle they are manipulating it so see if it fits. Their hand eye coordination is enhanced through this trial and error process.
  4. Social skills: Puzzles can be done alone but are also a great tool for fostering cooperative play. As kids ask for a piece to be passed to them, or discuss where a piece should go they are sharing the task and learning to cooperate. It can also help a child learn how to handle frustration when a piece does not fit.
When choosing a puzzle for your child consider the following:

  1. Age: Make sure you are purchasing the appropriate type of puzzle for your child's age. For example, jumbo knob or chunky puzzles are great for toddlers but jigsaw puzzles would be frustrating. At the same time a preschooler would really like a peg puzzle or jumbo piece floor puzzle. Older children prefer jigsaw puzzles ranging from 50 - 200 pieces depending on their skill.
  2. Material: Do you prefer wood, cardboard, painted, foam, etc Do you want a puzzle with textures to improve sensory perception as well as a cognitive skills?
  3. Types of puzzles: peg puzzles, chunky puzzles, jumbo knob puzzles, heavy duty cardboard floor puzzles, peg puzzles, foam puzzles, textured puzzles, shape sorting puzzles, sound puzzles, layer puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles.