Picking Our New Furniture

Zachary RobertsDear Gateway Families,

With Camp Gateway concluded and faculty returning in two weeks, the campus is buzzing with contractors installing new carpets, repainting rooms, and myriad other tasks, including figuring out where to stash the constantly-increasing collection of boxes that contain the new furniture for our Second Grade and Middle School Spanish classrooms.

It’s exciting to be part of the leading edge of educational innovators thinking intentionally about classroom design, and we’re grateful to have the resources to take the step to improve our learning spaces. Classroom design has become a hot topic amongst educators in the last few years; this April article on Edutopia has over 87,000 shares on social media, while this summer articles such as this one on deskless classrooms and this other one on flexible seating underscore the relationship between classroom design, how teaching and learning happen, and the impact on student senses and emotion.

Here are a few examples of the desks, tables, seating and shelving that we have selected for Gateway’s innovative furniture initiative:

  • The 3-2-1 LS table provides directional seating for two students. It can be arranged in many ways, such as joined with two other tables to create a six-student round.
  • The Interchange Diamond student desk is sleek and flexible, whether providing space for a single student or three children working together. It can also be combined with other desks to create a collaborative surface.
  • The UXL Nest and Fold table provides a large rectangular workspace. Our versions will have a whiteboard surface, so that when the tabletop is flipped vertically, it functions as a display and work surface.
  • The seat of the Noodle Stack chair can tilt slightly in all directions, which allows students to engage core muscles and improve breathing and concentration. The cut-away shape of the back support means children are better supported when they flip the chair around.
  • Last year we piloted the VS Hokki stool in several classrooms. These provided “controlled freedom of movement” and help students find a healthy and comfortable seating position.
  • Storage units from Whitney Brothers provide additional functionality through whiteboard backs, while the casters allow for easy movement and reconfiguration.

We’ve chosen to use Interface Floors for our new carpeting. In addition to the incredible array of patterns, textures and color available, these carpets are delivered in carpet squares, which makes replacement and upkeep easy — a damaged square is simply swapped out.

Earlier this summer I wrote about some key points our team learned as we researched classroom design: flexible work spaces, a range of seating options, increasing student movement and ownership over space design, and furniture serving multiple purposes, among other ideas. We’re excited to share these beautifully refreshed classrooms with our families in just a few short weeks!

Until then,

Zaq-Signature

Dr. Zachary Roberts
Head of School