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Whiteboard Easels

Primary education is very different in the 21st century from our own experiences growing up in the long lost 1900s. As someone with children at both primary and secondary schools, it is a constant revelation to walk into a contemporary teaching environment and witness just how far things have progressed.

For instance, instead of rows of wooden desks, all pointing forwards towards the teacher, early learners are now encouraged to move between different learning areas, with a little less structure to their time and more time – and space – given over to independent learning, and to encouraging their own educational interests. The doors between the indoor and outdoor teaching areas of the reception stage classrooms where my own children go, for instance, are kept open. The children can freely move between, depending on their mood and interest. And chalk? Don’t even get me started. Soooo last century!

If the reduction in chalk means my own primary teacher would have to reach for something else as ammunition to ping at chattering children, there have been many other interesting developments. The blackboard, for instance – that somewhat threating slab of black at the front of class, standing like the obelisk in the movie “2001” – has given way to much more interactive teaching methods, and equipment. Whiteboards, mounted on A-frame easels, provide a much more satisfying way of teaching, whether that be via the teacher’s own instruction, or else encouraging the children to engage in their own creativity.

As you will see from the fabulous range of whiteboard and easel combinations available from Youngstart, these can provide the solution to any teaching space, and varied requirements.

Larger, single easels are designed for teaching at the front of the class, and illustrating the points being made. If the whiteboard is needed to enable the childrens’ own creativity, there are designs that take in two, three and even four sides, so that as many children as possible can join in. Of course this makes such designs perfect for both individual and group work. In terms of the classroom, if space is at a premium, certain models can be folded flat and then stored away. Equally, most of the easels are fully adjustable, should there be children (or even adults!) of various heights, or wheelchairs to be accommodated beneath the easel.

Whether for free standing or desktop use, the whiteboard is really the central, most versatile piece of classroom equipment. Multipurpose and lightweight, the whiteboard can be used anywhere in the school, both inside and out… great for both classroom activity, and for flip chart presentations. The boards are magnetic and dry wipe clean, and come with a ledge for pen and books and trays for storage.

Of course Youngstart are happy to guarantee the stability of our range of high quality, premium whiteboards, as these easels have been designed with the highest levels of safety in mind. The range has been designed and manufactured at our own facilities and all the products have been road-tested – if you will – at many schools throughout the country, with fabulous results. Schools often buy multiples for each classroom, to allow every child the chance to indulge their creativity.

Our whiteboards fulfill all requirements and are suitable for both teaching with the children, and then perhaps with presentations amongst adults, once the children have left for the day. Truly the ideal multipurpose teaching aid for any classroom!

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Health and safety in the classroom

In the classroom, a safe environment is fundamental. If the children feel their foundations are safe and secure, they will feel more able to extend their understanding and challenge themselves. And that will aid their education.

Safety in the classroom can encompass many areas. We’ve broken these down into 10 action points are generally considered both systemically by the best schools, and also individually by teachers.

Firstly let’s think about some safety issues within the classroom:

1) Consider the classroom layout.

Check that the children can easily navigate around both the classroom and one another. Also, check doors are easy to open and close without obstructing anything and children can readily reach their education materials. If children find it hard to move around the classroom, they may get in one another’s way, which can lead to pushing and therefore stress points.

2) Safety lessons.

Are the children given advice about safety in the classroom? Advice might itself form part of an understanding about particularly concerning moving things around, walking (and not running) about the room, and certainly when carrying scissors. Such advice could mark a useful point for discussing safety with the children more generally.

3) P.E.

Safety should be paramount when playing on playground equipment – safety hotspots where tragic accidents have regrettably taken place. Similarly in P.E the children should work safely with all equipment, especially the gym mats, which are often heavier than the children think.

4) Drama.

Of course, you will want to make sessions interesting, however in drama – or any subject that tends to be more physical – children can quickly become excitable. So whilst we want children to be active, and inspired, we need to think about the planning of such sessions carefully. Work with the space that you have available and look for an activity that is controlled and will not deteriorate into children merely running around, which can cause accidents and incidents.

5) Cooking.

It’s certainly a positive move that cooking is taken much more seriously at school, which means we have a chance of turning out better cooks than myself and my generation of fellow schoolmates. Of course, anything involving cooking, and heat, needs to be carefully handled. Much more consideration must also be given to allergies, with nut allergies now much more prevalent, along with intolerances to dairy, for instance. Communication with parents must be open and on-going.

6) Tech.

Similarly with technology. Education, in general, is much more engaging and interactive than once it was. Equally, teachers will want to make their classes exciting and appealing to students. However, if it comes to things like electricity or gas use, or even using glue, or sharp tools like saws or knives, children must be educated as to the dangers as soon as is possible, with dedicated safety instruction.

7) Bullying.

This, of course, is a massive subject for both primary and secondary school, now complicated by the fact that bullying can be both physical bullying, or else cyberbullying, online. Anti-bullying messages must be enforced by the teachers and the head from the very beginning of the school year, and reinforced throughout that year, with the relevant consequences meted out for those that cross the line, thereby clearly confronting bad behaviour. These might be conveyed via role-play games, or mutually agreed on rules of behaviour, stressing the importance of mutual respect.

8) Security.

Again this all comes down to security. If the children feel they are entering a secure environment when they pass through the school gates, free from bullying, they will be more inclined to let down their guard and make real connections, and friendships.

9) The playground.

This is potentially, and undeniably, a more lawless environment than the classroom. And because of that, teaching staff and playground attendants need to be absolute across what goes on during breaks, both in terms of physical and verbal behaviour. Also be minded that children react, and adapt, to how teachers respond (and sometimes, regrettably, fail to respond) to incidents in the playground. In such cases, it can feel more like a lawless wild west for a child, than a safe place to play with friends.

10) Risk.

Some might feel that being too controlling can take all the fun out of school life. However, in teaching children about these dangers, we are teaching children important lessons in how to evaluate and manage risk. Recognising and accommodating danger engenders respect and is part of a child’s maturing process, towards eventual full independence.

In conclusion, the successful school environment encourages challenging learning, and play. Children can be rewarded for understanding risk; equally, children crossing the line can evidence the need for appropriate recrimination. Working towards a safer environment can thereby, in itself, be an important part of the education of a child.

At Young start, we put safety considerations at the forefront of every design decision we make. Our easels are the sturdiest and most dependable on the market, which is why we offer a 10-year guarantee.

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C.Cossey, Science Teacher

As a science teacher it is important to be flexible in the classroom. Although I have my mobile easel mainly located at the front of the room, I am able to move it around when I am demonstrating or the pupils are doing experiments. The product is light, easy to move and takes up little space. We have ordered many more for the different departments around the building. An excellently constructed product from a great British company.

C.Cossey, Science Teacher, London

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Meadowbank Primary School

“We love our new whiteboard easels. The ability to alter the height of the board means it is great for all different ages of children and we particularly like the actual sizing of the board itself as it is a good width, allowing for more writing to be done on the board. We also love the resource trays! Our teachers use these for a variety of reasons from storing whiteboard pens, to on hand maths resources, on hand literacy resources and even extension activities for individual sessions. It allows all our teachers to be well prepared and ready for all eventualities. The fact that the boards are on smooth castors means that work completed in whole class teaching can be easily ‘moved’ to be near a certain group when completing their work. Teachers like the fact that the board is magnetic and can easily be used to display small posters or children’s work. Compared to our old traditional, basic, tall and thin whiteboards these new ones are a great improvement so we have purchased them for every class. We would recommend them to anyone.”

Nichola Hill (Deputy Headteacher) Meadowbank Primary School, Manchester

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Dorchester Primary School

We have bought several mobile A frame easels mainly to be used in literacy lessons. They are perfect for the Talk for Writing work we do in school. I can hang flip chart paper on them and produce story maps, shared pieces of writing and word banks. The easels are light and easy to move around: ideal for my already very full classroom. The feature I appreciate most about the easel is that I can adjust the height. I don’t have to be slightly stooped to write a paragraph on flip chart paper any more and the children towards the back of the class can see easily without having their line of sight blocked. Does its job superbly!

Phil Selke, Year 6 teacher, Dorchester Primary School, Hull

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Overchurch Infant School

I am writing to say ‘thank you’ to you and your company for this great product. Having in the very recent past, ordered cheaper, similar items from other suppliers, we have found to our cost that they were of a very poor quality. Subsequently, they were a real danger for our infant children to be around and we have been forced to look elsewhere for a safe, good quality item from a trustworthy supplier.

We believe that we have found that from your company. Although they are quite a bit more expensive than others, we have learnt that you get what you pay for.

From start to finish you have provided us with a very efficient and helpful service. It has been prompt with all items delivered in perfect condition and ready to use. They are of a quality that surpasses any others that we have purchased (and sent back!) and their appearance is a reassurance of the quality that they are. We have found them to be very practical (as they are in constant use) and they have proven to be very sturdy and robust. The trays underneath are also great for storage.

The easels are easily manoeuvred and the lockable wheels make them safe for our children to be around. In our opinion, all you could wish for in a top quality British product.

We would very much recommend this as a premium quality, value for money item for any school.

As part of our whole school development plan, we have been implementing a ‘rolling program’ which includes the replacement of most of our antiquated classroom furniture. Six of our classrooms are already benefiting from the Youngstart easel but our aim is to have one in all of our learning areas which would mean purchasing another four. This would then make our program complete and your product will have helped us a long the way to enhancing our children’s learning environment.