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5 Ways to Transform Cafeterias and Food Courts

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Take a tip from the entrepreneurs, freelancers, and telecommuters who pop into local coffee shops for inspiration outside of traditional work settings. As an inviting coffee house stirs people to productivity, school dining areas can likewise spark students’ intellectual engagement. Thoughtfully furnished dining areas will attract students to eat, collaborate, study, create, socialize, or just relax.

Here are five furnishing choices to inspire engagement in your dining areas:

  • Create a variety of spaces. When people can claim their own areas, the sense of ownership motivates them to enter the space. Choices kindle a feeling of a personal space for focus or interaction. Vary your dining areas with combinations of seat-height and counter-height tables, padded and structured-back seats, or chairs and stools on casters and glides.

  • Incorporate power-enabled furnishings. There’s no quicker way to attract people to any space than to provide power for devices. Power lets people stay engaged on their laptops, tablets, or cell phones. Keep your learners charged-up with a variety of outlets embedded in soft seating, built into tables, and readily available in portable power towers.

  • Provide opportunities for roundtable seating. Clear sightlines promote inclusion, giving all students the same chance to add their thoughts freely and collaborate with the group. Symmetrical table shapes like hexagons, pentagons, and octagons provide equal opportunites to participate. A variety of smaller and larger tables let groups gather in the sizes they need.

  • Allow flexible furniture arrangements. Need show choir practice space? Let students fold the tables and push them to the side. Need to accommodate 3 more people? Push small tables together and carry over the soft seating units. Convertible units, lightweight seating, and tables on wheels make dining areas most useful for the greatest number of people.

  • Select furnishings with attractive surfaces that are easy-to-clean. When people can claim their own areas, the sense of ownership motivates them to enter the space. Choices kindle a feeling of a personal space for focus or interaction. Vary your dining areas with combinations of seat-height and counter-height tables, padded and structured-back seats, or chairs and stools on casters and glides.

Need help getting started?  Our veteran consultants are passionate about tailoring learning spaces to your educational goals.  Call us at 1-800-260-2776 or email dsmsupport@schooloutfitters.com to start the conversation.
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