Created on: 21st May 2019
Interior ideas for creating stimulating, calm and sensitive spaces for students to engage and learn in.
If it’s your task to provide solutions for educational interiors, then there are many points to consider. As well as working with tight budgets, space constraints and time pressures, you will need to create spaces that are beneficial for students and teachers to be able to work and learn effectively.
Here are some ideas to consider for your next educational interior project, whether it is a classroom refurbishment or a communal area design:
A calming environment for good engagement
Many studies have shown that children and adults alike react well to a relaxed learning environment, where they feel safe and calm, with not too many distractions. Sensitive lighting, calming colours and an offering of natural light will all help create a space that is engaging and comfortable to learn from.
Although classrooms can be busy and hectic places at times, the room itself should form a relaxing and clutter-free base, where visual aids can be used to reinforce learning and stimulation. As a general rule, 20 to 50 percent of the available wall space should be kept clear.
Re-think the space
A new classroom refurbishment project also gives you the opportunity to completely rethink the use of space and the way the room could be laid out. Many classrooms follow a traditional approach of rows of pupils facing the front of the class, however, depending on the size and shape of the room, another layout could be better suited that breaks this norm and also helps to engage students better.
A selection of comfy beanbags or large cushions scattered in front of low-level informal seating can be a low-cost and easy method of offering a variety of places to settle and might be a great idea for times when a class needs to sit and listen for a long period of time i.e. during a presentation.
Screen-dividers and partition walls can be effective in splitting rooms, and to create zones of flexible spaces that can easily be moved when they need to be.
While tech is completely essential for modern-day learning and research, it’s also important to encourage times when technology is banished, in favour of more traditional and hands-on approaches.
You could create distinct zones in a classroom where screens are permitted for research, but also create tech-free zones where they are not. It should be made clear which areas are for which so everyone is clear, and again, partition walls would be a great way to separate the zones. Low-tech schools and teaching are becoming very popular ideas within the media and are seen to be important to allow for personal creativity and imagination.
In stressful situations or at times where learning becomes too much, it’s easy for young minds (as well as old ones) to become overwhelmed. It’s important that the spaces in which students are working in reflect areas that they can relate to and in a way ‘feel like home’.
Allowing students some degree of personalisation in their learning space can offer some comfort and support. From allowing light music to be played to offering colour-changing lighting options, students feel as if they have some control over the space they are working in, allowing them to relax.
Displaying student work on the walls is another great personalisation option – as not only will pupils feel a great sense of satisfaction from seeing their work displayed on show, but they are more likely to remember the content of the material too.
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