At MooreCo, we’re big on thriving. Our Thrive Philosophy came about in 2019, to place a focus on the design of spaces that encourage physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social-emotional, and moral development. But even as there was an opportunity to help students thrive then, the pandemic made that need even more dire. The past year has taken a toll on students, teachers, and parents in ways that will take time to recover from. With the help of ESSER funds being allocated to schools to help with this recovery, our hope is that each school and student will have access to the resources and spaces they need to truly thrive.
But what does it mean to thrive?
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, to thrive is to grow or flourish. This can mean at home, at a new skill or job, or at school. Just as plants must be fed and given sunlight to thrive, students need resources and environments that help them feel met and to succeed. So how are students thriving in 2021? Some are flourishing in person at school, while others continue to learn virtually. Every region and family may have a different situation. So we asked some parents and teachers to weigh in, asking them one question.
How do you know when your child or student is thriving?
“I Know My Students are Thriving When…”
Britagne Sullivan’s has been a 7th grade language arts teacher for over 5 years. And although she’s a gifted and passionate educator, 2020 and virtual learning were not without challenges. Now that Britagne’s back in the classroom in Hutto, Texas, she’s seeing students in real time and is pleased to witness them engaging. “I know my students are thriving when they are engaged in the lesson”. She went on to say that it’s been wonderful having students back in the classroom. The middle school recently received new furniture and flexible design featuring MooreCo products. Britagne says that as a language arts teacher, having the new flexible furniture is ideal. It allows the students to make rows, partner up, and easily configure the classroom to be a presentation space. “I know my students are thriving when they are surprised how quickly time has gone by.” She says this has happened a lot since students have come back this fall. They are enjoying their environment and the energy of their gifted teacher. When asked what it takes to thrive as a teacher, Britagne says “I’m able to thrive when I have what I need”. This means the time, the supplies, the environment, and the support to do her best always.
How Environments Help Britagne and Her Students Thrive
In their language arts class, Hutto students need the room to move throughout the room for presentations of scenes, poems, and speeches. But while engaged in lessons, they need the seating options that will help them focus in on Britagne’s lectures. For this, we recommend seating that can be easily moved when not in use, that functions as ergonomic collaboration spaces while students are learning. The Akt collection combines the principles of human development to be able to “Akt” with purpose and intention. The Akt tables are ideally suited for secondary learners, higher education students, and the employees in the workforce. This makes them ideal collaborative seating for middle school adolescent learners who thrive on independence and collaboration. For Britagne’s class, the Height Adjustable Flipper Tables are also ideal for mobility and versatility. They allow for students to work together during lectures, perfect for the reading of scripts or group writing activities. When it’s time to perform, tables easily flip flat to be conveniently moved to the side of the room.
“As a Teacher, I Thrive When…”
Jen is an elementary school teacher in San Antonio. She says, “As a teacher, I’m thriving when there is space to have flexible seating.” As a seasoned teacher, Jen knows what works for her. Flexible furniture and a balanced environment with plenty of seating choices help her to keep students engaged and focused during every lesson. This is important for all learners, but for young learners most. Since they have ample energy and a love for hands-on and physical play, younger students need active and flexible seating choices to thrive.
How Environments Help Jen and Her Students Thrive
Jen is an active teacher with creative lesson plans who prioritizes student engagement. For her, creating rooms that balance collaboration, self-expression, and teacher/student communication work best. We recommend mobile tablet chairs like the Enroll with Hierarchy Shell for flexible learning. Each Enroll can be moved to create distance, or configured together in clusters for group learning. The Visionary Mobile Glass Board is an amazing tool for Jen to command focus with colorful visual communication tools for lessons. The Mobile Teacher Workstation is a great desk system for an active teacher like Jen, who appreciates having the opportunity to move freely throughout the classroom, while still enjoying an organized and functional desk space.
“I Know My Child is Thriving When…”
Lori is a mom and yoga teacher in Philadelphia. She said she knows her 7-year-old son was thriving during virtual learning. She said her son’s experience was all about his setup. “When I set up my kids’ workstations for remote learning, I set up the laptop off to the side of the desk and elevated so the camera could show their work.” Lori is a great mom who invests a lot of time in making sure her kids are learning well, even at home. She expressed that thriving during virtual learning for her kids was about setting up a home workstation that made them feel comfortable and engaged while learning from afar.
How Environments Help Lori and Her Kids Thrive
Lori’s kids are small. It can be hard to engage children at this age with virtual learning. Some thrive learning virtually, however. To help them thrive while they are learning at home, the home classroom setup is key. Setting up a desk area where they can work or providing spaces on the floor for them to sit is ideal for young children to focus. For smaller learners in an out of the classroom, the Soft Seated Dots provide a designated spot to sit and focus. Pair with the Baby Folding Wheasel for early visual communication and storage of toys and books. For distance learning teachers, having the technological tools to keep even the youngest students engaged is paramount. Media carts can be created using Compass cabinets for ultimate mobile organization. Add the AV cart and you have everything you need to teach at a distance while keeping supplies accessible at a moment's notice.
“I Know My Child is Thriving When…”
Sara has a five-year-old son. Although he’s now attending school in-person, Sara has some hesitation about COVID safety and having her son attend school with new children in kindergarten for the first time. “I know my son is thriving when he’s safe and feels included.” For Sara and many parents, sending students back to school this year came with trepidation, but there are ways educators, administrators, and designers can help them feel at ease.
How Environments Help Sara and Her Son Thrive
Sara reported that after picking her son up from school on the first day, she immediately felt relief. She saw the use of protective dividers on desks and noticed that the classroom integrated many seating solutions for all to feel included. For parents of children with special needs, whether they have learning disabilities or physical limitations, a room set up to meet their needs can make them feel included. Sara likes knowing that her son is learning with students whose needs are different from his, and that her son attends a school where students teaching each other lessons is a part of the curriculum. This collaboration can lead to compassion, friendship, confidence, and inclusion. ADA approved desks and Rocking Stools are two seating solutions that can meet students where they are, making learning accessible for all.
We’re Here to Help…
We love seeing your students thrive! Along with parents and educators everywhere, we are hopeful schools will continue to stay safe and learning. MooreCo has provided solutions for distance and safe in-person learning throughout the pandemic. We’ve been consulting experts on what helps all children learn and grow optimally. Contact us to learn more about creating environments where all can thrive, flourish, and grow.