Parents discuss their children’s school, we can see them outside the school gates daily talking, amongst other things, the school’s environment. First, before we talk about the importance of the school environment, let’s find out exactly what is a ‘school environment’. The facilities it offers can define a school environment. Its number and size of classrooms, school-based health support systems, how strict (or soft) its disciplinary policies and practices. Plus external factors that can affect pupils and parents.
Ideally, all students learn, some quicker, some slower, but all gain more knowledge and life experience. Here we look at the environment which makes the whole process safe and comfortable. The better the facilities the easier it is to attract knowledgeable and experienced teaching staff. Teachers who care about the children in their care. We at Gummi hope to prove that statement!
What do we mean by a positive environment? Come to our school, experience the buzz of children who look on with the expectation of the day's excitement, notice the eager staff, witness the thrill they get leading their wards to another fun-filled school day.
We can prove the most conducive place to learn and enjoy school days to be in a positive atmosphere.
School safety figures high in the school's importance, Gummi ensures both students and staff can thrive without fear of accident. Not only are the buildings designed for safe learning but also outside the buildings, the playground has games free of danger. Cars are well away from the play areas, the children can breathe clean air.
Can buildings affect learning?
A recent report has shown that by offering ‘green’ levels in clean air, lighting, temperatures and acoustic levels are optimums. Not only in comfort but also more healthy.
We believe schools should be designed and operated for children’s health, wellbeing and performance, also we should keep our greenhouse gas emissions as low as possible.
The environment of a school building has a huge impact on how a student learns, if a student can’t hear their teacher, or if it too hot to concentrate, their performance will lack, also factors like CO2 levels and types of lighting, can also make a difference.
How important is good lighting? If light is poor, not only will eyesight suffer, but it can have a negative effect on children’s health and school room performance.
Some children have a higher sensitivity to light because they have smaller pupils. Incredibly students have shown a 36 percent increase in oral reading skills when exposed to high-intensity light, while those in standard lighting conditions increased by only 16 percent.
Schools can improve balancing natural and artificial light. Exposure to daylight is beneficial to children.
It has been proven that the blue spectrum LED light in the morning could make children more stimulated and alert at school compared to those exposed to dim or poor lighting.
Not forgetting that LED lights use less energy than older technology.
Poor indoor air can lead to headaches as in ‘sick building syndrome’. We judge air quality on concentrations of carbon dioxide and various pollutants, like dust and moulds. The last thing we want is lethargic learners!
Children are susceptible to sick building syndrome because they are smaller, and they have higher rates of breathing.
Good indoor air quality with low carbon emissions can be achieved through natural ventilation which can refresh indoor air without increasing energy consumption, but this requires good outdoor air quality.
Children have a higher core body temperature than adults, they are more sensitive to temperatures fluctuations than adults hence the need to offer the right temperature in a classroom is therefore vital to children’s health and academic achievement.
Research backs that idea: in a survey of Finnish children, they found that those who thought their classrooms were ‘comfortable’ achieved four percent more correct answers in a test compared to those who were hot.
Natural ventilation from windows, if the outdoor air quality is good, we can moderate the temperature and reduce the energy needed for cooling and associated carbon emissions.
Otherwise, schools can make use of energy-efficient mechanical ventilation which can provide a comfortable temperature and humidity level.
Noise in and out of the classroom
Poor acoustics near children can directly impact student health and behaviour. It can stimulate hearing loss and hyperactivity.
Bad acoustics will result in lower student achievement. Students at a UK school near a flight path misheard 25% of words, affecting language acquisition skills.
Our school is positioned away from traffic or industrial noise sources, and by optimising insulation in existing schools to reduce noise levels.
What other facilities?
Sport and games
Facilities are important for the physical and emotional health of students, hence the array of exciting play areas and the games we offer. Our school has a secure, well-disciplined, and exciting learning environment, and maintains clean and orderly school buildings.
While the colours chosen for our school may not seem as important as some things we mentioned, the choice of colour used in schools can either improve or impair learning, and behaviours. Colour schemes can change with fashion, however throughout the years, colour trends for schools have changed. Studies have shown that colour affects a student’s attention span, time seems to drag in rooms of garish colours.
We well know the psychophysiological effects of colour; red and orange encourage thought, yellow is cheerful, and most blues and greens are relaxing. Warm and cool colours make people ‘feel’ temperature differently, either hotter or colder as their name implies. In room design, cool dark colours seem to recede, whereas bright warm colours appear closer. Hence using shades to suit the size of the room.
We don’t select a colour scheme for an educational facility without considering other aspects of the environment. The choice to include a variety of hues representing different degrees of light saturation and the perceived temperature is very effective within the total environment.
What Colours for What Age Group?
Young children seem to move towards bright colours, primarily warm colours, such as red and yellow. One study showed that young children rejected black, white, grey and dark brown. Instead, the students preferred red, orange, yellow and purple. Warm and bright colour schemes seem to stimulate the active, energising way of children. However, while colour brightness and intensity are useful in attracting attention, they may not be conducive to learning.
At preschools, mild, soothing colours, such as warm, soft shades of white and light creams work well as the base colour. Stronger, we recommend brighter colours as accents and focal points. In this age category, we should remember it that children’s artwork is frequently on display, so the colour scheme selected shouldn’t compete with the artwork but should complement or enhance the display.
A lot of thought and care has gone into Gummi the building, its surroundings and its facilities.