Why do we still teach children to sit down?
Why are children still sitting down all day in class, especially when standing feels so much better? Here at JASWIG, we create health-promoting furniture to make you feel better both mentally and physically. This is why we created the StandUp, the first height-adjustable wooden standing desk made for both kids and adults.
It seems that everywhere we go, we have a place to sit: in public spaces, at the office, in our cars, on public transit, at home (you get the picture). For most of us, the default option is to recline, and our furniture and infrastructure make it the easiest choice. This occurs in schools as well, where most children spend their day in ill-fitted sitting desks. Even with afterschool activities, most modern-day kids spend up to 85% of their waking hours in sedentary activities. Adults are no better, spending 8-12 hours a day in a seated position.
If sitting is the new smoking in terms of health risks, then why are we letting our kids get hooked at such an early age? Studies suggest that sitting for more than three hours a day can decrease our life expectancy by two years, even if we exercise regularly. Sitting too much increases the risks for obesity, muscle degeneration, heart disease, and even depression. The good news is that our sitting problem is fixed through a simple intervention: standing up and moving more.
This is where JASWIG comes in. We want to change our sitting culture by introducing the first height-adjustable wooden standing desk for both children and adults. We call it the StandUp. Its sleek design is made from sustainably sourced wood, and is easily adjusted by even the youngest of users.
Sitting has become a staple of western society, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. With the StandUp, we are aiming to support a new, active culture that will help prevent sedentary-related public health problems before they develop.
Our dream is to make the StandUp accessible and affordable to everyone, because we believe that everybody, especially every child, should have access to a standing desk and in result a healthier lifestyle. Meeting our Kickstarter campaign goal brings us closer to realizing this vision, and closer to getting more standing desks in schools everywhere.
One size fits none
The StandUp is the first height-adjustable wooden standing desk. Its lightweight and simple design allows for safe and easy height adjustments in seconds, even for a young child. No person is the same size, and using a standardized sitting desk or table for hours can compromise your posture, circulation, and musculature. When it comes to furniture, there really is no “one size fits all.”
Benefits of standing regularly
For children, it allows them to burn energy in a productive way and allows them to better focus on the task at hand, be that homework in your living room or a project in the classroom. For adults (and everyone else), it increases muscle circulation, burns more calories, improves posture and balance, and even helps you think more clearly. Offices all over the world are adopting standing desks because they see it increasing productivity and improving health outcomes for their workers.
- Relieves stress from the lower back, shoulders and neck
- Stimulates muscle activity and good posture
- Increases calorie burn, on average 50 calories/h more than sitting
- Improves blood flow and oxygen influx to the brains
- Helps productivity, creativity and concentration
- Better interaction between teacher and students
- Allow children to channel their excessive energy
“We think better on our feet than in our seat.” – Mark Benden, PhD, CPE
“Kids can fidget at a standing desk, but it's not as disruptive.” – Juliet Starrett, StandUpKids.org
Our desk displays a beautiful balance between simplicity, functionality, sustainability and familiarity. The design is based on the vintage 60’s school desks but the edges and material are reflective of recent technological innovations.
Sustainability is truly important to us and is reflected in the choices we have made in our materials and manufacturing process. Our desks are made from Forest Stewardship Counsel (FSC) Certified Russian Birch, which ensures it comes from forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits. If you or your child ever outgrows your desk, we gladly take the product back for reuse and recycling. We use a specific varnish with low-VOC and formaldehyde levels, reducing impact to air quality. Any waste material created during the manufacturing process is reused for other products or prototyping. Our desk design is optimized for digital manufacturing in local wood workshops with state-of-the-art machines. This allows us to make the desk nearly anywhere, which limits transportation-related pollution and provides work for local businesses .
1. Easy and safe height adjustable system: The height can easily be adjusted by anyone, even the youngest of users. This assures an ergonomic position for everyone. The desk has no pinch points and can be locked in place to ensure a stable and safe surface to work.
2. Natural materials: The desk is made from high-quality, FSC-certified Russian Birch plywood, and is finished with a durable, low-VOC and low-formaldehyde varnish.
3. Designed for (dis)assembly: All parts of our desk are easily replaced. This prevents the need to buy a new desk if a specific part gets damaged.
Since the video was made, the design of the desk has changed. The desk that we are offering on Kickstarter has the following additional attributes:
- A shelf for extra storage space.
- Black screws (instead of finger joints) for easier fastening and a stylish, European look.
JASWIG designs, engineers and prototypes all of the furniture we develop. The manufacturing occurs in wood workshops we partner with. Local small businesses receive our digital files and use CNC-technology to produce the pieces. Once cut, the pieces are sanded and the edges are rounded for a beautiful and smoothly finished product. The last step before shipping is finishing all surfaces with a durable yet environmentally friendly protective coating.
We currently have production set up in Cleveland, Ohio and Gent, Belgium. If this Kickstarter is successful we will set up more manufacturing hubs around the globe, but until then we limit shipping to the US, Canada, Europe, and the UK.
The desks are shipped flat-packed. At the manufacturing shop, all the finished pieces are put in a custom designed box with fasteners. These packages are delivered only over land to reach you in the most efficient and sensible manner to minimize transportation-related pollution.
Why we need your help
We want to change the sitting norm, which we believe is accomplished through changing the habits of every generation – from child to parent. That is why we want to support independent research studying the impact of introducing standing desks in the classroom. We are currently working with UDS Steel Academy, an Akron school that accommodates students with learning difficulties. A Psychology PhD student from Cleveland State will quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate changes in behavior and performance of the students after the introduction of standing desks in their classroom. You can be part of this important research! One of our rewards allows you to donate a desk. We will make sure to include your name as one of the important sponsors of this research.
We want to make the desks as affordable as possible, because we believe that every child should have access to a standing desk. In order to do this, we need a large network of manufacturers that have the appropriate equipment and can meet our end-product quality requirements. Making the desks locally cuts down on transportation costs and pollution. However, this requires extensive legal agreements, prototyping and testing phases at different locations and clear guidelines about our manufacturing and distribution process. Having your financial support will allow us to set this up.
The rewards are all shipped from Ohio for the US and Canada, and from Belgium for Europe and the UK. Expected delivery date for the desks are early December – just in time for the holidays!
Unfortunately we do not ship the desks internationally as it doesn't fit our vision of local manufacturing and low-carbon transportation. If you would love to have this desk but are not located in the US, Canada, Europe, or UK, then please tell us where you are from! We will set up future manufacturing hubs based on where demand is highest, and you could help bring the benefits of this standing desk to your part of the world.
Important! Please be aware that the desks that we are offering here on Kickstarter:
- Include a shelf for extra storage space.
- Have a locking bar.
- Have black screws that allows for easier fastening and a stylish, European look. This is different from the finger joints on the model used in our Kickstarter movie.
Our final design is still in the making. So keep an eye out for updates
The excited and motivated Jaswig team
"I love it that my daughter is now able to dance and learn at the same time."
As featured in
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge is making a durable product out of quality materials with very high sustainability standards at an affordable cost. Over the past six months we have worked closely with our local manufacturers to establish a strong, trustworthy relationship. The boss was even willing to play the annoying lawyer for our video (but eventually we didn’t use the recording). This makes us confident we will be able to deliver a beautifully finished desk to all our backers.
Another challenge is producing the same quality of products in different countries at similar prices. That is why we decided to limit shipping to only the US, Canada, Europe and the UK for this Kickstarter. We listen, so please let us know where you are from, so we can set up a local manufacturing hub close to you.
Executing valid research is a true challenge (we speak from experience). However, a powerful, peer-reviewed paper will provide more evidence about the benefits of standing desks in schools. This brings us one step closer to showing the powerful people about how important an active classroom environment is for improving education and health. In the future, we hope this influences school’s decisions when considering including standing desks within their budget as an investment in their students.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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