The millennial workforce may have popularized the flexible work station, but it’s the younger generation that’s really embracing the idea of standing desks. While our own elementary school memories may be filled with teachers telling us to take our seats, today’s school children are receiving a different message — stay standing.
Unsurprisingly, California schools have been at the forefront of this trend — already, kids at schools like Vallecito Elementary School in San Rafael, California are spending the vast majority of their school day on their feet. And according to teacher testimonies, standing is doing wonders for the kiddos.
While adults have long bemoaned the dangers of spending too much time sitting, it’s taken awhile for the same logic to transfer over to those growing darlings who embody our posterity. Though we often assume that youth is automatically connected with mobility, a couple California parents noticed that this was not the case when they participated in their children’s field day. “A lot of kids at our school literally lacked hip range motion … and were having difficulty jumping,” said Juliet Starrett, who runs a company with her husband that focuses on the importance of movement for injury prevention.
And seeing just how immobile their young children were at school was alarming, to say the least.
Not only has standing proven beneficial in terms of physical health, but studies also point to the advantages in the academic realm as well. In fact, standing has been linked to a 10 to 15 percent increase in test scores, and treadmill desk inventor James Levine noted, “The data consistently demonstrate that when children are allowed to move during their school day, they learn better.”
Moreover, other studies have shown that engagement levels in schools are much higher when standing desks are used. Rather than feeling tied to a desk or being constantly told to sit still, children who are able to maintain a bit of perpetual motion (shifting their weight, rocking from side to side, etc.) seem to be able to pay attention more too. In a study of nearly 300 children between second and fourth grade, CNN reports that “researchers found a 12% greater “on-task” engagement, or an extra seven minutes per hour of engaged instruction, in classrooms with standing desks.”
Alexandria Country Day School in Virginia now has standing desks for every one of its middle schoolers, and school head Scott Baytosh notes that the literature is simply too convincing not to act upon. “The research is very clear that standing is far healthier than sitting, and we wanted to do something bold,” he told the Today Show.
And it looks like this trend is one that here’s to stay.