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Work. 2005;25(3):263-72.

The impact of school furniture on fourth grade children's on-task and sitting behavior in the classroom: a pilot study.

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Department of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA.


Schoolchildren spend much of their day sitting in classroom furniture that is often too large or too small. To assess the impact of the size and fit of school furniture on the sitting and task behaviors of schoolchildren, 63 fourth-graders were observed while seated in 2 different sizes, types, and arrangements of furniture in their classroom. A correlated group design was used to compare the sitting and task behaviors of the students while seated in their traditional classroom furniture consisting of tables and chairs, and while sitting in smaller, appropriately sized desks and chairs, arranged in clusters and then in rows. The results indicate that the children sat better and were on task more when seated in the smaller furniture, as indicated by a significant main effect for condition, F = 51.478 (4, 330), p<0.05. There was no difference in sitting and task behaviors with the new furniture arranged in clusters compared to rows. Girls showed a slightly greater improvement compared to boys, and there was a significant correlation between better sitting positions and being on-task (r = 0.549, p<0.01). These findings indicate that students would likely benefit from sitting in smaller furniture that fits their size better.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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