During the trial at Abbeyfields First School in Morpeth, Northumberland, the 30 pupils were split into groups of ten, and each group took part in the same reading activities. These included a storytelling session held by the kids’ teacher, a series of questions to check how well they had been listening and a period of independent reading. The measured effectiveness of activities was based on the children’s attention to the teacher, their engagement with the story and the concentration of individuals when reading independently.
Key points drawn from each group showed the normal classroom reading format of sitting on the carpet produced good levels of concentration, interaction and comfort; the desk and chair set up saw pupils behave slightly more timidly in their reactions to the story, and children were also more easily distracted by one another. The group sat on bean bags were relaxed and engaged, and their posture appeared comfortable and content while reading their books during independent reading.
“As an educational soft furnishings designer, we always work very closely with educational professionals to develop our products to ensure that they enhance the experience of learning,” said managing director Mark Dolder. “The Bean Bag Reading Chair is designed to be the ideal seat for enjoying reading with its back support and seat that moulds to the shape of the child’s body. Having received positive feedback from schools we wanted to test just how much this bean bag could improve the experience of reading compared to that of a normal classroom chair or even sitting on the floor.”
Abbeyfields First School teacher and key stage one leader Lorraine Sykes said: “I think on the whole the majority of the class sat really well; they were engaged and comfortable. When they were reading their individual books – they just sat, relaxed and looked really comfy while they were reading.
“I was surprised, as I thought the bean bags might be a distraction to the reading lesson, but they were in fact the opposite. The children behaved very calmly and found their own preferred position to relax into their seats with their books. I am really looking forward to seeing what other lessons and activities we can not only use the bean bag chairs for but hopefully improve the experience of.”
Mark Dolder added: “We plan to continue our research studies in the pursuit of finding a quantifiable conclusion so that we can publish a full report. We look forward to sharing our discoveries with the industry along the way.”