Choosing the right furniture for your classroom, daycare, or preschool may seem like an "in and out" sort of deal. You pick out some chairs, get a few tables, and viola done! But what many teachers and school board members fail to realize is that certain furniture is more suitable for specific age groups and it has to do with a lot more than just size.
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Small tables and chair sets are perfect for preschoolers and kids just joining the ranks of four and five year old kindergarten. Children in this age group have often never been in a large group of children before starting school or daycare, so it's important not to overwhelm them with giant tables nor with individual desks, which can make them feel alone or singled out. The best options for kids this age are table that can accommodate between three and five kids. To make the most of the arrangements, try and sit shy kids next to friendly children who are outgoing to help them come out of their shell.
Very large tables become necessary (or are at least a good idea) for kids who have been in school for a few years, but who have not yet mastered the art of working as a team and taking turns. By having them sit in a large group, learning to be respectful and answer questions one at a time is must and this will give you the perfect opportunity to make this point. If you can't accommodate or don't want a few very large tables and chairs, you can choose tables or desks for individual children and simply move them into a large circle for specific lessons.
Individual desks are generally the norm for kids from upper elementary school and older; with the exception of art classes and other activities. This is because kids at this age need individual space, and need room to work alone without the distraction of another child. You may also choose tables built to fit two kids or teens because they will get the same benefits of extra space while still feeling like part of a group. It also makes doing certain projects or activities much easier, especially if you separate the class into the groups frequently.
Even when using individual desks, at any age, having one or two medium tables and chairs around is always a good idea if you have the space. The benefit of desks is that they can be moved closer together in order to accommodate additional furniture. By having added tables around, kids will have more room to stretch out during certain projects, working as a group will be easier, and kids who work better sitting closely with another person will have that option if you deem it necessary.