What makes a nurturing learning environment? Does it have to be visually stimulating? Or warm and inviting? Is it free of distractions so that kids can concentrate on the business at hand?
As much as everyone loves a good educational poster, there is a growing debate that less is than more - especially when it comes to classrooms. Granted, no one wants to send their kids into a stark, minimalist atmosphere. At the same time, an overabundance of attractions, albeit educational, can be distracting to kids and steer them off task.
And it’s not just a problem in elementary school. My daughter came home one year to announce that her new teacher had 47 stuffed animals, among other items, scattered around her classroom– in a middle school English class. The teacher, it turns out, was great with the kids, and although my daughter ending up learning a good deal, many kids didn’t mesh as well in that setting and some even transferred out.
New research shows that what was once a coveted, comfy homey classroom atmosphere may not be as beneficial to kids as something as simple as outside space. “Health & Place” conducted a study that looked at student stress levels and the access to the outdoors and green settings. The findings? Kids not only preferred the greener outdoor settings, they actually showed more confidence and fewer signs of stress. We often say that kids are like sponges. Isn’t about time that we take a closer look at in what kind of environment we ask these “sponges” to learn? In what kind of classroom does your child do best?