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Distant, Yet Collaborative Classroom Furniture For 2021

by | Dec 4, 2020

The start of a new calendar year tends to bring about resolutions and for many, getting back on track.  Unfortunately, for educators, back on track looks a little different this year.  It is now clear that the implications of COVID-19 will extend beyond 2020.

School classrooms and spaces must be structured differently than in years past.  The challenge comes in maintaining that vital collaboration among students in a much more distant environment.  Luckily, manufacturers are ahead of the game in this space.  We have recently seen several new product lines launched that foster a sense of collaboration and flexibility while also allowing following guidelines so that safety remains a priority.  

Benefits of Alternative Seating in Schools

The demand for flexible seating and agile classroom furniture continues to grow annually.  But, why do we see schools shifting away from the traditional classroom set-up?  Does changing up the classroom setting and bringing in alternatives like soft seating affect achievement in addition to comfort?  That depends on several factors, including teacher management style and goals/standards in place.    Advocates for flexible seating note plenty of benefits from the concept, most notably the following:

  • Comfort:  When students are uncomfortable, they often lose focus.  Introducing a variety of softer seating options can help shift their focus back to the curriculum
  • Community:  Flexible seating is often mobile and can shift around as students engage in small groups.  This promotes collaboration among them and fosters the team atmosphere in the classroom.
  • Reflects Real-World Settings:  It’s nearly impossible to think of a real-world situation beyond education that mimics traditional classroom set-ups rows upon rows of desks.  Introducing children to alternative set-ups helps create their ability to work in a variety of settings while still maintaining productivity.

Socially Distant Collaboration 

During the past year, the need for social distance threw another challenge in educators’ way.  Now, they must find solutions for continuing to foster the collaborative, community environment in their classrooms while also focusing on finding easily cleanable student furniture that allows for the appropriate distance between other students and teachers.  

Manufacturers have noted this struggle and continuously work to create and produce high-quality pieces to make it easier for teachers and administrators.  Below are some of our favorite products for a collaborative yet socially distant classroom.


Comfort and Versatility from Fomcore

 The folks at Fomcore are the self-proclaimed “soft seating experts,” and we have to agree.  The single-cut foam construction used in all their products brings comfort and versatility to the classroom.  They offer several upholstery options, including vinyl, which make these products easy to clean and sanitize during use.    

The unique Puzzle Set is a favorite among educators.  When pieced together, they’ve got a unique classroom element or great group activity.  Additionally, individual pieces are easy to remove from the group and taken to other parts of the room.  This is great for the upcoming year, as spreading out kids and maintaining social distance will still be necessary.  

Another innovative product from Fomcore is their selection of Lily Pad cushions.   The Lily Pads are ideal for identifying individual spaces for kids throughout the classroom during activities or story time.  They come in a variety of bright colors and are easily cleaned and stored in a stack when not in use.  

All products from Fomcore come with a lifetime warranty and are truly built to last.  BY focusing on foam, they have been able to excel in the soft-seating industry by bringing comfort, quality, and aesthetics to schools since 2016.  

Interior Concepts Combines Utility and Quality

Interior Concepts sticks to their promise of finding “solutions that fit.”  They realize that educators have enough to worry about with curriculum development and classroom management.  So, they design products that take away the need to stress over other aspects of the school day.  

One fine example of this is their Campfire Cart & Cushions, which doubles as seating AND storage.  The mobile cart houses these eclipse-shaped cushions perfectly when they aren’t in use.  Teachers can then distribute them when encouraging students to leave their desks and find a space on the floor for games or activities.  The storage cart acts as a great seat for teachers as well, and it has casters to easily roll around the room (or even the school).  The cart can easily house up to 12 cushions and comes in a variety of finishes.  Combined with the range of color options for the cushions, this makes them adaptable to fit any classroom décor.  

Interior Concepts manufactures all their products in the United States.  Also, their products are all MAS Certified Green, so administrators and teachers can be confident they are maintaining a healthy school environment for everyone.


Alternative Desk Options from Smith Systems


Smith Systems prides itself on creating furniture that is “built for learning.”  They know each classroom and school in the US is different and thus has different needs.  To best serve those needs, they only cater to K12 schools, and consistently bring innovation to student desks and seating.    

The Interchange Wing Open Front Desk from Smith System strays from the traditional rectangle desk.  The triangle shape makes this desk very flexible in terms of classroom placement while still maintaining function.  Groups of four of the desks are easily formed together so students can interact in small groups.  Because they are so easily moveable, they can also be spread apart enough to maintain that collaborative environment but from a safe distance as well.

Smith System has also developed the Interchange Diamond Desk, designed with collaborative learning in mind.  These desks fit together in small rows or a group of 6 with students facing each other.  With castors on the desks, it’s easy to space them out so that students can interact but still keeping social distancing in mind.  With a laminate top that comes in 14 colors, disinfecting them between uses is quick and painless.    

These desks, along with all products from Smith System, are designed knowing that schools need quality furniture at affordable prices.  They continue working towards the goal of empowerment and learning for all students.  They have dedicated themselves to making that happen for over 100 years.  

A.T. Equipment Sales – Partners in Collaboration and Safety


At A.T. Equipment Sales, we don’t partner with just any manufacturers.  Knowing that safety, quality, functionality, and style are all important to educators, we select only those companies who keep these top of mind when creating their products.    

If you are looking for furniture options for the upcoming year that will both be safe as well as foster collaboration in the school setting, we’d be happy to help.  Contact us to learn more about the unique solutions our partners bring and find those solutions that best fit your classroom or school.

We’re here to help. Contact us here.