“Sit still and quit fidgeting!”
How often did we hear that when we were in school? I know my kids heard it plenty but I don’t think it ever did much good. Kids need to move.
Turns out research has shown that the the “sit still” command is counter productive and possibly even detrimental.
Let them stand instead.
Kudos to a Saskatchewan Grade 1 teacher, Justin Sauer, who introduced standing desks to his class last September. In stories by both the CTV and CBC story on standing desks in Saskatchewan news networks, Justin reported not only improved attention span but positive reports from the parents as well. Another teacher in Toronto, also introduced standing desks when she found she was asking the kids to sit down too often. The standing desk turned out to be a great solution, even for the most hyper of students.
(Some of the comments on the CBC post were a little humorous though with people worried about the kids getting tired by standing that long. How soon we forget what a being a child is like.)
The biggest hindrance is probably not proving the worthiness of the idea. The research is pretty clear (no matter what the seated naysayers say). The problem may be cost. Justin Sauer efficiently converted old desks from storage into standing desks but not all schools may be that resourceful.
In the States, a movement to combat this may be starting, if the dynamic Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4 Hour Workweek and 4 HourBody, has any effect (he does). He recently posted a call for a movement to bring standing desks to schools in the United States. Research with primary school students in Texas A & M University showed that children quickly took to the standing desks and preferred them over sitting. The trial was done as a way to help alleviate the growing obesity problem but a welcome side effect was that the kids were more attentive too.
Ferriss is working StandUpKids – a not for profit to encourage adoption of standing desks in schools. They are aiming to equip one school first and spread across the United States.
We need a movement like this in Canada. As a mother, I have seen my children struggle with sitting (and heard about it from their teachers). I moved to a standing desk myself after doing some research on neck and back problems. It makes sense.
Sitting at a desk is not conducive to learning. Don’t hold them back. Let them stand up.
The Texas study is published in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education.