Enabling healthier environments for all

Lorna Taylor is a Chartered Physiotherapist and founder of the Jolly Back range – award-winning and original products which improve posture and wellbeing, including the award-winning Jolly Back Chair. Lorna specialises in supporting adults and children working and learning in early years and primary settings. Here she explains how postural health enables healthier environments for educators and the benefits it brings children and organisations.

What challenges do teachers face with their postural health?

As a children’s physiotherapist of 10+ years, I’m all too familiar with working at low levels in environments designed for children. I have experienced the daily, repetitive poor postures and felt your pain of kneeling on the floor, back ache from bending over low tables and hip stiffness from getting up from tiny chairs!

Whilst its important environments are created for children to aid physical and emotional development, it’s essential these environments also aid physical health and wellbeing of adults working and caring in them. Workplace safety, health and legal requirements need to be considered through design and furniture in all early years and primary settings.

Working in early years and primary presents many risks to postural health.

What are the benefits of ergonomic furniture in schools?

We know healthy, happy employees are able to give more to children in their care and are better able to support colleagues. Businesses spend huge sums of money investing in ergonomic furniture, designing working environments and embedding wellbeing initiatives as they know it makes good business sense in terms of morale and productivity, talent recruitment and employee retention. It also helps make the workplace healthier and happier – bringing enormous benefits to a company and its reputation.

Every organisation is only as good as its people – staff really are the most important resource any organisation has.

How can furniture design improve classroom environments?

Education and Childcare settings understandably focus on environments for children, but this is often at detriment to staff. With the Jolly Back range there are now simple, cost effective, safe and healthy solutions for all adults working in “child-height” environments.

All Jolly Back products are physiotherapist designed using a thorough understanding of posture, movement and human anatomy together with the practicalities of frontline school and nursery working. Products are multifunction to give maximum benefit for investment and versatility of use and are all designed specifically for use in early years and primary. The range provides the following benefits:

  • The furniture improves posture, comfort and musculoskeletal health for both children and adults
  • It improves children’s gross motor development and posture, supporting their future health and opportunity.
  • Positive impact on pupil behaviour and concentration, contributing to improved learning outcomes.
  • Reduces teacher absenteeism through poor postural health
  • A better working environment positively contributes to employee engagement and productivity

Examples of furniture that can be used to improve postural health:

  • The Sit-Stand Buddy (with cushion) can be used to create a standing desk whilst also providing a comfy, posture supporting low stool.
  • The Sit and Lean Jolly Beanbag provides a much-needed back support whilst working on the floor and can also be used as a grab and go seat to sit naturally upright on too – perfect for outdoor learning as all fabrics are water-resistant.
  • There is a range of posture-storage furniture too, each with a removable cushion as often comfort and storage can be difficult to find for educators!