How Beautiful Spaces Encourage Learning:
Schools play a role of keeping children safe, to educate them, and equip them with skills while learning the ABC’s of life. For this to be achieved effectively, the learning environment have to be that which reflects and supports the learning while promote creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
Most people believe that physical space is equal in importance to other known significant influencers on student learning: adults and peers. David referenced a book whose title suggests as much, “The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching and Learning.”
What Makes Beautiful Spaces And How They Encourage Learning:
Colours: Using the right colour, and the correct selection and placement can seriously affect the feelings, attention, and behaviour of people when learning. Colour is fundamental to the human experience. It’s a huge part of our lives and our perceptions. Strong colours like red or orange can make an individual energetic and ready to take on a task, but use those colours sparingly. Overstimulation from colour can lead to disruptive behaviour and muddled thoughts. If you want to foster tranquillity and increased focused, use soft hues of green and blue.
Bring the outdoors in. Some model classrooms have allowed an indoor/outdoor space that becomes an extension of classroom learning.
Spaces might include wide windows with great views of the outdoors, doors that open to extend the classroom outside. I.e. Year one class has an extension right outside the classroom where there’s a gazebo with chairs which are used during one on one reading. Some studies have even found that teaching outdoors might improve grades.
A Rorschach test asks what people “see” when they look at a series of inkblots—then uses psychology to understand their individual perceptions. We tend to want to personify or make recognizable any shape we see so that we can assimilate meaning and see a connection. When we see a pointed shape in an image, no matter what the detail within, we tend to think danger! Humans associate that shape as threatening and dangerous, like a weapon, based on our experience with sharp things. Round shapes, on the other hand, impart a kind of softness, organic, or maternal quality, sending the message of safety and comfort. Can you imagine how this might affect the perception of student’s environment?
Lighting is a dominant factor in the brain’s ability to focus. Studies have shown that lighting quality affects students’ abilities to see clearly, concentrate and perform well in the classroom. It seems that the poor lighting reduces the effectiveness of the brain’s power to gather data. And lighting (like natural light) works best to improve behaviour, create less anxiety and stress, and improve overall Health.
Furniture has the potential to be even more transformative than architecture. In a learner-centered environment, resources and materials are organized and available based on student needs and to promote student choice. Furniture and learning spaces are strategically arranged so students can easily transition from collaborative groups, to direct instruction, to individual work that encourages opportunities for personalization.
Shoeless learning. Yes, shoeless learning spaces. According to Heppell, in Scandinavia and other countries children often learn with shoes off. Experts believe having children with no shoes in the classroom improves their learning because it makes them ‘feel at home’ and more relaxed when learning. Adding carpets in classroom supports the shoeless learning, enable children to stay without shoes and having to deal with a cold floor.
Create Playful spaces. Bring the fun back into learning! Play helps teams work together effectively and creates meaningful learning engagement.
Whether at home or within a child care or preschool environment, creating rich, playful spaces for children inspires them, to play in more purposeful, learn through those play experiences, value what they have and maintain the space in an organised way.