Posted by MooreCo Inc on Feb 6, 2023 3:39:00 PM
Designing Inclusive, Calming, and Colorful Classroom Spaces for Special Education Students
MooreCo specializes in creating educational and professional environments that are suited to every learning style and background, empowering all students and workers to thrive. No student group is more diverse than special education students. With a variety of physical and sensory needs and experiences, special education students deserve to learn within a classroom that fully accommodates them. Per the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) of 1990, special education students are legally entitled to a “free and appropriate education” in the “least restrictive environment,” one that allows them to move, create, absorb information, and thrive in the learning process. MooreCo is committed to developing these special education spaces so that students with various learning abilities have the same access to a safe and welcoming classroom environment. Giving special education students the freedom to move and create in a sound-sensitive classroom with easy access to the outdoors, surrounded by faculty who are knowledgeable and prepared is the ultimate goal.
According to NAC Architecture, equipping teachers for success is the first step. In order for special education students to build trusting relationships, strong communication skills, and feel included in the classroom, a sturdy network of teachers and medical professionals is required. Teachers, therapists, and parents should work together to help students with intensive needs increase their current levels of performance and meet their social, emotional, behavioral, and intellectual needs. MooreCo offers the Compass Teacher Desk as just one answer in this enduring and complex debate, equipping teachers with a sturdy, hands-on space that moves on the go and acts as a command center that calls the class to attention.
Inclusivity is an increasingly important aspect of any classroom, but when learning abilities differ between students, creating environments that feel safe and furnished for their individual success is equally vital. Supporting students in whatever journey they are on is a primary goal for the future of learning and, according to Wold Architects and Engineers, sometimes that means creating individualized spaces where students with more intensive needs can get the best education possible.
There is no one-size-fits-all model, but here at MooreCo, we excel in finding solutions that marry inclusivity to individuality. Special education classrooms should be designed with flexible seating arrangements, like the Hierarchy Grow Stool® with wobble action, or Akt 5-Star Chairs with a spinning base, that encourages movement throughout the day. Seating with a built-in "rocking" motions helps students focus, so incorporate Dot Soft Seating and the Dot Stool or the Soft Sway Rocking Chair, all of which provide comfort and motion to improve calmness, focus, and reduce tension. Both the Hierarchy Grow Stool® and the Soft Sway Rocking Chair are available in various sizes for different age groups.
Having a diverse range of seating and standing options is vital in creating a flexible and inclusive special education space. While traditional classroom settings have students seated at a desk for long periods of time, some special education students remain more engaged when they are standing. MooreCo happily provides standing-height desks and tables, like the Up-Rite Student Desk, with an adjustable sit-to-stand function, or the Hierarchy Grow & Roll Desk, which comes in multiple shapes and allows students to choose a height that suits them best. There are other special needs students that prefer learning while seated on the floor, which is why MooreCo also supplies youth height legs on Hierarchy Desks, which pair comfortably with Dot Soft Seating.
Dr. Lisa Harris of Healthworks Ergonomics reminded us that “people are more often now considering sensory needs to be just as important as physical needs.” Special education students know best of all the difference between “being in an environment that feels calm or being in one that is loud." Creating an environment that brings out a calming physical response in the body is very important when developing special needs spaces. The MooreCo Double Privacy Pod gives special needs students a quiet, designated workspace with sound-dampening upholstery that allows them to work one-on-one with a teacher in a distraction-free environment.
Giving special needs students tools they can use to get creative and explore new learning concepts is essential for emotional growth. Adding one or more full-length, Liso Glass Walls to the classroom provides a colorful writing and erasing surface where students can express themselves through art and solve problems in real-time. Additionally, the Hierarchy Grow & Roll Mobile Magnetic Glass Board provides an easy way to take learning on the go. Special education students need access to a lot of space and there is plenty of it outdoors. If the fresh air calls, take class outside in a pinch, since this colorful glass board comes on wheels.