learning commons furniture

The 3 Key Steps to Creating a Learning Commons

As we have discussed in a previous blog here on “What is a Learning Commons”, or the evolution of the modern library, the next question is: how do we make a space that is flexible and adaptable, a place of discovery, innovation, and collaboration to help engage learning with peers, beyond the classroom, and to explore and connect?

Every space, budget, and group is different. In this blog we will outline 3 key components to creating an engaging Learning Commons on any budget, in any size room, for any age group, to help you develop your space.

The library has always been an important part of the school and learning culture, the new evolution to the Learning Commons is meeting student’s needs today and will continue to adapt for tomorrow, making them an important hub of the school.

Every Learning Commons should have spaces for individual work, small group, and large group collaboration. Creating flexible soft seating options allows students to reconfigure the space as needed and as tasks change.

Each space needs to be flexible to allow users to rearrange according to their needs. Desks and tables that can fit together to creating larger learning spaces or stand up collaborative areas are great to engage students. Learning Commons allow children who are not always working together to engage and learn from one another. Giving them a space they feel comfortable transforming is key to taking ownership over their own learning. 

Learning Commons need to foster creativity, be engaging and inspiring. A comfortable place students feel equipped and supported in will allow them to learn as they need, and best utilize the space. A fundamental principal of a Learning Commons is equipping students with what they need to succeed and learn. Allowing them to interact with peers, and work in their own way gives them the tools they will need for future education and the skills they will need going forward in life. 

These spaces truly are the hub of the school, but not all schools have the dedicated resources or space to retrofit their library or extend past the limited space they already have. Any space can become a Learning Commons with the right tools and philosophies.

We would love to discuss more on what solutions you need to elevate your space for the next generation of learners.

innovative classroom furniture

The 3 Key Steps to Creating a Makerspace

As we have discussed in a previous blog here on “What is a Makerspace”, to allow students to learn through exploration and creation, the next question is, how do we make a space dedicated to students to explore, tinker, and create hands-on?

Every space, budget, and group is different. In this blog we will outline 3 key components to creating an engaging Makerspace on any budget, in any size room, for any age group, to help you develop your space.

Every Makerspace should have durable work surfaces.  Mobile tables with different heights to sit or stand at are great for all activities and engagements, they also remove the hurdle of space. In a classroom or school, you may not have extra classrooms you can convert to full lab Makerspaces, but there may be a corner in a classroom or a storage space you can keep a mobile unit like the Rover Table. 

Flexibility is a key piece and step in creating a Makerspace. Mobile tables that are multi-use are helpful in a small classroom, or bonus lab space, as well as mobile storage that can be arranged and moved as needed. A fundamental part of a Makerspace is to have everything the student will need to create and innovate ready and accessible. Storage for all of these materials needs to be organized and accessible to allow creative minds to follow their thoughts and work as they need to. It is a hands-off approach from educators and an all-hands in from the makers. Remove distractions and limits by utilizing rolling storage solutions.

Our third key element to creating a Makerspace is to make it inspiring! This space is intended to be inventive, collaborative, and explorative. Add mobile whiteboards, sketching areas, and places where teams can come together to invent and collaborate. 

Any space can become a Makerspace given the right tools and applications. Not every school has the capacity to convert entire classrooms to dedicated Makerspace Labs, we hope with these fundamentals you can start to add in areas within a classroom to enhance your space for young makers to explore, expand their knowledge and thrive.

We would love to discuss more on what solutions you need to elevate your space for the next generation of learners.

Makerspace

What is a Makerspace?

In a time when much knowledge is consumed, a Makerspace gives children the opportunity to learn through exploration and creation. The space gives students the tools and materials needed to create, explore, tinker, invent, and move from consumption to creation for physical hands-on learning.

Why does furniture matter? Adaptable furniture solutions support the environment for Student-Centered Learning, supporting the learner, giving them the tools and equipment they need for the various tasks and types of study/ work, and encouraging space for each student to learn in their optimal way.

Having dedicated spaces within a school allows for proper tools and safety equipment to be stored and readily available, while also creating a separation of tasks. These options are not always available.

The Ed Table Minimizes the logistics and clean-up of a traditional space for project-based learning. Easily moving around the classroom as needed, and stored away when not.

The Rover Table is built to be mobile and adaptable to any space, no matter the limitation. It is a complete package, allowing it to be brought out when needed, and safely stored when not in use. It houses all tools and functions for a fun and creative experience.

Connect today to discuss how we can transform your Makers Space!

innovative classroom furniture

What is a Learning Commons?

The library has always been an important part of the school and learning culture.  The evolution into the Learning Commons is meeting student’s needs today and will continue to adapt for tomorrow, making them an important hub of the school. It allows students to mix and learn from others they may not normally interact with, giving them stronger diversity in thoughts and idea-sharing. 

Why does furniture matter? Adaptable furniture solutions support the environment for Student-Centered Learning, supporting the learner, giving them the tools and equipment they need for the various tasks and types of study/work, and encouraging space for each student to learn in their optimal way.

Soft seating solutions are wonderful for both individual and small or large group work. They are flexible and can be configured in many ways and come in an abundance of styles and colors. They give students a natural collaboration area while very comfortable, allowing children to relax and work as best suits them.

Activity tables come in a very wide variety of sizes, shapes, and options. They are extremely flexible and moveable to adapt and transform the space as tasks transform and progress.

Study corrals give learners a head-down focused space to work independently and distraction-free with the added benefit of acoustic sound baffling. This means your space is dynamic and suits many students and tasks learning simultaneously in contrast to a traditional quieter and independent library.

Along with study corrals, reading corners offer a similar approach for quiet independent discovery and reading while allowing for many configurations and comforts for the individual learner.

Connect today to discuss how we can transform your Learning Commons!

commercial business furniture

What is a Student-Centred Classroom?

The Student-Centred Classroom is a collaborative space where students are active participants in their education. They are creating and innovating, not simply memorizing, regurgitating, and forgetting. We build these environments with activity, inclusion, and action. The result is an inclusive space that adapts based on how each child uniquely and individually learns while meeting the criteria of the curriculum.

Allowing students to learn in the ways that best suit them, and freeing teachers to work creatively in the classroom, creates an optimal space for everyone. When everyone is focused and doing their best, everyone wins. Student-Centred Classrooms are a passion for us at CDI Spaces, we love knowing we are helping the classroom win and succeed and raising the next generations of leaders. These spaces do not have to be completely redesigned, we work with many classrooms to slowly evolve and update the space as required.

Why does furniture matter? Adaptable furniture solutions support the environment for Student-Centred Learning, supporting the learner, giving them the tools and equipment they need for the various tasks and types of study/ work, and encouraging space for each student to learn in their optimal way.

Soft seating ottomans, junior-sized chairs and couches create reading nooks and comfortable places for kids to retreat to. In the classroom, they allow flexibility for group or individual independent study while being a cozy comfortable space for students to relax and work. 

Movement furniture such as wobble stools and rocking chairs give students gentle or engaged movement while minimizing distraction to others and the potential for accidents. This keeps students attentive and engaged in learning. Activating the core increases blood flow which increases the learning process. They are a fantastic addition to any classroom space.

Connect today to discuss how we can transform your Student-Centred Classroom!

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STUDENTS BRING THE COLOURS TO THE CLASSROOMS

Colours psychology is an increasingly higher role in the consideration of education environments. Colours choices impact the teaching and learning process and influence students’ attitudes and behaviours. However, too many colours can overwhelm students. Read the article below by our Student-Centred Classroom, Craig Ward, to learn how to incorporate colours in the classrooms to bring positive benefits to students.

The Effects Of Colours On Children

It has been found that carefully planned colour schemes positively affect academic achievement of elementary students and especially students of kindergarten age. The proper use of colour can convert an atmosphere that is depressing and monotonous into one that is pleasing, exciting, and stimulating. Such change in colour schemes reduce absenteeism and promote positive feelings.  

Although children were not able to identify exactly how specific colours make them feel, they often associate bright colours with positive feelings and dark colours with negative feelings. Colours can used as a tool to create an engaging learning environment for students and boost their moods. 

Edmonton Christian School incorporated effectively both warm and cool colours in their learning commons area. 

Colours liked by students can influence their muscular tension and motor control. Warm colours have been known to cause slight elevations in blood pressure in children, while cooler colours caused slight drops in blood pressure. Likewise, optical stimulation using warm colors and brilliance of lighting will cause increases in muscular tensions, respiration rate, heart action, blood pressure and brain activity. 

For example, orange colours encourage creativity and enthusiasm; yellow colours evoke feelings of happiness, and summer. A little touch of orange and yellow can brighten learning environments, making it more joyful.  

Cool colours and dim lighting bring about reverse effects, such as muscles relaxing more, and sleep being facilitated. In colour psychology, green and blue colours connect children with nature, ocean, and sky, and give students and teachers the feelings of calmness, relaxation, trust, and safety.

Too Many Colours Can Overwhelm Students

Once upon a time, it was common to add as many bright colours as possible to collaborative and common areas. However, for some students, too many colours can be overwhelming. With their different coloured t-shirts, shoes and accessories, the students themself bring the colours to the space. Nowadays, it is recommended that schools and educational institution used mostly neutral and ungendered colours to create a more equal, opportune environment for students to learn. 

At CDI Spaces, we have a great collection of student chairs and desks with over 24 different colours that we can match to your preexisting chairs in the classroom. We believe no chair should stand out. We take great care to add any kind of chair (standard, coking, wiggle) in a way that can seamlessly blend in with the rest.    

If you have any questions on how to incorporate colours into your learning environments, contact us today at 1-888-230-2280 or [email protected] for a complimentary consultation. 

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Top 5 Classroom Products of 2020

2020 has been a year of some big changes, but one thing has remained constant – the need for students and children to get the full value out of their education. Student learning is not a one size fits all model, and neither are classrooms. Over the last 30 years, CDI Spaces has been dedicated to providing educational and classroom furniture that supports the psychological findings behind child learning and development. We sat down with Craig Ward, our Classroom Consultant, to put together a list of our top five classroom products that have helped both students and teachers do their best over the last year.  

Rocking Chair

Rocking chairs are a valuable addition to any classroom. Especially in a reality where students may be required to move around the classroom less than before, rocking chairs allow students the right amount of movement to keep them engaged and attentive. 

The body and mind are designed for dynamic movement. When rockers are in the classroom, the combination of gentle movement and flexible support helps children channel excess energy into classroom endeavors. The controlled back-and-forth motion helps the body settle down so the mind can tune in.” – Craig Ward, Classroom Consultant, CDI Spaces 

Wobble Stool

Like the Rocking ChairWobble Stools provide an advanced layer of healthy movement in classrooms. For students who may need different motions apart from the rocking motion to stay alert, Wobble Stools provide 360 degrees of flexibility for movement in almost any direction or rotation.  

The Wobble Stool was made for the active learning environment. Ideal for group learning, the self-balancing stool promotes movement without leaving the seat. – Craig Ward, Classroom Consultant, CDI Spaces 

Stand-Up Desk

Stand-up desks have been proven a valuable asset in offices and corporate environments, and the same can be said for classrooms. Having the option of Stand-up desks in the back of a classroom not only give students the autonomy to move when needed. but to choose which method of learning will be most useful to them for a certain topic.  

Standing has proven to be an effective way to improve memory and focus, and research shows that classroom standing desks can also enhance cognitive skills and improve test scores. Students feel more alert when they’re able to stand when they need to and this translates to improved focus in class.– Craig Ward, Classroom Consultant, CDI Spaces 

Dry-Erase Top Student Desk

Writing on paper can seem daunting and forebodingly permanent for students working through new topics. Dry-Erase top desks allow students to work through new topics, equations, and ideas while still allowing them the option to change their mind. These desks can go completely unnoticed in any classroom and can blend in with pre-existing desks in the classroom as well.   

Students love whiteboards and prefer to work on a whiteboard over paper any day of the week. The ability to write directly on the desk makes learning fun! Conjugating verbs, listening exercises, and writing exercises are more fun, engaging, and easy to monitor.” – Craig Ward, Classroom Consultant, CDI Spaces

Dry-Erase Teacher Desk

Likewise, Dry-Erase Teacher Desks are a great alternative for helping students work through concepts one on one. While the thought of working through equations on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom may not appeal to some students, working on a desk rather than the front board may encourage students to be more adventurous and certain in showing their work.  

In the past, the teacher desk was a very authoritative area. In some classrooms we set up now, we put the mobile, crank height teacher desk in the middle of the classroom, and it becomes the hub of the classroom now students can actually come up and work at the teacher desk.– Craig Ward, Classroom Consultant, CDI Spaces 

Contact Us Today!

For details or a quote on any of our five recommended classroom products, get in touch with us at 1.888.230.2280or [email protected] to get help from more specialized education classroom consultants like Craig.  

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Do you clean and disinfect your furniture properly?

Evidence shows that coronavirus is most likely to last on surfaces we frequently touch with our hands and it can live on surfaces from a few hours to days. High touch surfaces in workplaces, including desks, phones, keypads, work surfaces, etc. are prime places for the spread of viruses and bacteria. It is highly recommended to clean and disinfect regularly to lower the chance of COVID-19 transmitting in your office. However, do you know how to clean and disinfect your furniture properly?

CLEANING

Surface cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including microorganisms. Cleaning alone does not kill microorganisms, but by eliminating them partially, this reduces their numbers and therefore diminishes the risk of spreading the infection.

DISINFECTING

Surface disinfection is done using chemicals to kill microorganisms. Killing remaining microorganisms on a surface after cleaning further reduces the risk of spreading the infection.

A common method we often do is to use store-bought disinfectant solutions or wipes to clean. However, a chemical spray disinfectant will make the polyurethane (a.k.a a plastic resin) flake or peel. And an antibacterial or disinfectant soap with warm water can do its magic to prolong the life of the turner.

Each furniture material reacts to chemicals differently. So, it is important to know how to clean and disinfect properly, otherwise, you may be ruining your furniture.

Below is a guideline on how to clean and disinfect each type of furniture material.

Materials Suggested Cleaners Suggested Disinfectants Cleaning Method To Avoid
Melamine (TFL) laminate tops Mild soap and water. All-purpose cleaners such as Lysol, Virex II 256, Purell, Virox (peroxide). Quaternary ammonium, ethanol, hydrogen peroxide. It is important not to let the solvent work for too long. Rinse with clear water and dry the surface quickly. Sodium hypochlorite and bleach/chlorine solution.
Painted Metal Mild soap and water. Bleach 0.5% concentration, clean for at least 1 minute. Hydrogen peroxide concentration of 0.5%, clean for at least 1 minute. 70% alcohol (rubbing, ethanol, or isopropyl alcohol) for at least 30 seconds. A solution of quaternary ammonium salts, leave to act for 10 minutes. Disinfectant wipes. Clean, rinse with clear water, and wipe the surface.  
Fabrics Mild soap and water. Refer to the supplier’s instructions. Using a vacuum cleaner and a clean brush. Bleach/chlorine solution.
Vinyl Mild soap and water. A mixture of 1:10 ratio bleach and water. Refer to the supplier’s instructions. Clean, rinse with clear water, and wipe the surface. Alcohol and ammonia

Not only does cleaning and disinfecting furniture properly increase the lifespan of your furniture, but it also helps to prevent the spread of germs that may cause illness.

Comment below if you have any questions! Happy cleaning!