When equipping your classroom with basic furniture (for example, tables and chairs) there are a few important factors to consider:
Children have a way of testing the strength of classroom furniture, especially chairs. Your preschool classroom requires sturdy and stable furniture to avoid frequent replacement – but more importantly, to avoid the risk of a child being hurt (if, for example, they lean back on a chair and it gives way).
In the long run, an investment in high-quality classroom furniture will pay dividends as you will rarely, if ever, need to replace it.
It’s essential that the height and seating angles of your tables and chairs are appropriate for the children. This may mean you need different table heights to adjust for different heights of children within your class.
A correctly adjusted chair and table will improve a child’s seated posture and help their comfort and attention span throughout the activity.
For chairs specifically, the molding of the seat is important – the days of a flat slab of wood are, thankfully, behind us.
Ensure you are aware of any relevant regulations for preschool furniture in your area. Some table and chair heights, for example, are prescribed by school districts – so make sure you contact the relevant authorities to ensure your classroom is compliant!
For any preschool, budget is going to be a central consideration. You can strike a balance between cost and quality that works for you, your preschool and your students. Remember to ask for a deal if you’re looking to buy in bulk!
Chairs and tables:
A comfortable child is a happier, more productive child and they will maintain a longer attention span. There is a relatively simple formula for determining the correct seated posture – and therefore the correct table and chair height – for any child.
Start with the chair
In a seated position, the child’s feet should be flat on the floor, with a 90 degree bend at the knees. Seated back in the chair, the child should have a 90 degree bend at the hips and a straight back. The height of the chair may need to be adjusted or another chair substituted to achieve this configuration.
Then find the right table height
The general rule for table height in preschool is about 8 inches above the seat of the chair. However, the perfect height will vary between children of different heights – the ideal height is achieved when there is a 90 degree bend in the elbow, while maintaining all the above angles.
In general, for prechoolers the above calculations will lead to a 10-12 inch chair and a table 18-20 inches in height.
I have put together the Ultimate Guide to Setting Up Your Preschool Classroom which contains everything you could ever possibly need for setting up your classroom – all of the above plus much more.