One of the greatest pleasures of being a student during the spring months is having class outside. Whether it’s the change of scenery, the presence of a warm breeze or the scent of blooming foliage, young learners at all levels relish the opportunity to escape the classroom environment. Although it may not be feasible to learn outdoors every day, numerous educators are finding ways to bring a little bit of nature indoors.
Biophilic design — which draws heavily from naturally occurring shapes, patterns and colors — has found its way into more schools. Students and faculty alike have reported significant benefits from this philosophy and how it transforms learning spaces. From a greater sense of calm to higher test scores, following this approach to interior design can have a profound impact on how classes work together and learn. Learn more about the impacts of biophilic design, courtesy of International Woodworking Fair.
What is Biophilic Design?
The core of this concept draws inspiration from nature when designing indoor spaces. Rather than using straight lines, sharp angles and manufactured materials, biophilic designs opt for soft edges, flowing patterns and natural-looking surfaces. The idea behind this philosophy is to reduce the artificiality of buildings and bring them more in line with a natural environment.
For example, a classroom designed around this principle might feature hardwood flooring, wall patterns that suggest leaves and tree branches or finishes made of stone. Allowing in as much daylight as possible and improving views of nature through windows is another frequently used element. The point isn’t necessarily to mimic Mother Nature, but instead to create a feeling in these spaces that is closer to being outdoors.
How Students Can Benefit
Even though many kids might want to learn outside just for the distraction of being away from their desks, there are many reasons why a biophilic classroom could bring real benefits. For instance, one of the most obvious is how it can reduce stress and anxiety. These environments have been found to produce a greater sense of relaxation and well-being than typical rooms. This translates into students being more at ease and ready to accept new information. It also helps reduce the stress associated with exams or group projects, which leads to stronger results.
According to research conducted in classrooms that incorporated these features, students and teachers reported feeling more relaxed in them compared to spaces that used a traditional setup. With a greater sense of calm and relaxation, it becomes much easier for most people to concentrate and focus on their work. One study found that biophilic design elements resulted in test score gains up to three times higher than in years without such enhancements.
Even very young students can receive a boost to their learning potential. Studies have shown that children who are developing their sensory and motor skills thrive when surrounded by natural stimulus. The presence of these features was found to encourage kids to be more curious about their surroundings and use their imaginations more frequently during play.
Perhaps most importantly, this approach to classroom design can have a significant effect on how students feel about their education. Having class in one of these environments could lead to improved mood and greater confidence. This in turn may contribute to overall better performance and more enthusiasm about school in general.
Most young people yearn for the opportunity to learn in the fresh air, and there’s a good reason for that. By bringing some of the outdoors inside, educators can create a learning space that gives their pupils a better chance to succeed and grow. Biophilic design doesn’t require a tremendous investment of time or resources, but it could provide the best results for your school.