May 27th, 2021

// How Classroom Design is Critical to Student Wellbeing in a Post-Pandemic World

How Classroom Design is Critical to Student Wellbeing in a Post-Pandemic World

Education advocate and Canadian furniture company founder shares ideas for fostering positive change in learning environments

VICTORIA, British Columbia, May 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- During the pandemic, students have experienced emotional and psychological stress of varying degrees resulting in increased reports of depression, challenges to self-esteem, fear, and emotional anxiety. Studies have shown that improvements to the classroom environment can make a difference in supporting the needs of students and how a thoughtfully designed space is critical to help students feel safe, feel respected, show respect to others, create a sense of connection, and realize their potential.

The significance and impact of the classroom environment on student wellbeing is the core value upon which BC-based Natural Pod was founded over a decade ago. The pandemic highlighted for educators and school planners the need for healthy and sustainable learning environments - spaces that parents feel comfortable sending their children to, easily cleaned, and spaces that can adjust and be flexible based on the needs of the students and educators.

“Children’s daily rhythms of home and school life have been dramatically disrupted by the pandemic,” says Natural Pod founder and CEO, Bridgitte Alomes. “By changing even small elements of a classroom environment we can directly address how students feel in a space and provide them with the comfort and connection they need,” she says.

Alomes offers the following suggestions:

Seek opportunities to increase daylighting and make connections to the outdoors
Build projects into the curriculum for outdoor education. If possible, when holding class indoors, open windows so that daylight and fresh air permeate the space and provide vistas of nature outside of windows. If there is no opportunity to view the outdoors in real-time, bring representations of elements of nature into the environment through materials and color.

Flexible learning environments that allow for the personalization of space
Flexible learning environments create opportunities to optimize individual choice and autonomy, foster collaboration, and build community. Personalization provides learners with structured decisions of where they work, how they approach the problem/project, and with whom they work – alone or together.

Utilize all areas of the space
Utilize every square foot of assets for learning. Leverage the public spaces of the school to create learning zones that foster large-scale collaboration and community building.

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