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Buying Guide

Elementary School Desks and School Chairs

Elementary School Desks

Once children enter first grade, they sit at individual school desks rather than in groups. They have textbooks and notebooks to keep track of. As they get older, they write with pens rather than pencils and they use sharp school supplies like scissors and compasses.

When choosing school furniture for an elementary school, you'll need to look at desks that can store school supplies and stand up to whatever damage students inflict upon them.

For school supply storage, consider chairs with attached book baskets or desks with open-view book boxes so that teachers can see what students are storing. This will both facilitate neatness and prevent undesirable objects from creating discipline problems. Look for school desks with hard plastic or WoodStone tops to prevent damage from sharp objects.

Elementary School Chairs

Most standard elementary school chairs are made from soft plastic. These are more comfortable and cost less, but are not as durable as their hard plastic counterparts. Hard plastic chairs can save you money in the long run. If you're operating under budget constraints, here are some features to look for in soft plastic chairs to give them an added boost of strength and durability:

Back Supports – Look for chairs in which the steel supports run all the way up the back to help the chair stand up to the pressure of students leaning back in it.

Underseat Brackets – Make sure the school chairs you purchase have supporting brackets under the seat.

Steel supports - They should be made of at least 16 gauge steel; 14-gauge is even better.

Long-term Warranty – Manufacturers should stand behind the school furniture they sell. Hertz furniture offers a limited lifetime warranty on soft plastic school chairs from Academia Furniture.

Whether you choose wooden or plastic school chairs, the seat backs must have ventilation. Choose chairs with separate back and seat units or with slats in the back to provide comfort and allow students' backs to breathe.

(Don't) Break A Leg

School chairs come with various leg options. Standard four-legged chairs are the best choice for classrooms with hard floors. The legs are capped with glides to keep chairs level and prevent scratching floors. Nylon or plastic glides are softer on hard floors and prevent noise when students move the chairs. In carpeted classrooms, steel glides are smoother.

A sled-based school chair, supported on each side by a base resembling a sled, won't move easily across hard floors but glides smoothly on carpeted surfaces.

Chairs on casters (wheels) work well in computer labs or art rooms where students frequently turn to look at the teacher or move from station to station. These can, however, be hazardous for younger students and are usually reserved for teachers or for middle school and up.

Make sure to choose chairs that are the appropriate height for your students. For grades 1-4, consider height-adjustable school chairs so each child can have a chair that is the right height for him.

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