Increase Learning with Natural Light!
Did you know that children's test scores go up when they are in a classroom that has more natural light? It's true, there have actually been studies done on this. In one study (Daylighting in Schools Reanalysis Report), there was a 21% improvement in student learning! Natural light is a necessity for kids. It helps with their sleep cycles, moods, and their overall health and ability to concentrate, yet it is so often overlooked in the classroom.
Teachers too often leave their blinds closed. If you haven't noticed, start looking around. One possible reason they leave their blinds closed is distractions. Some teachers are concerned their students might be distracted by what is going on outside, but the benefits of having natural light in your classroom far outweigh this fear.
I currently teach in an Elementary art classroom that has tons of windows, skylights and natural light. It is a very happy, pleasant place to be. I'm in my second year of having this beautiful room with tons of light and lots of windows and never, not once have I seen a child distracted by the windows. Instead they come in, with a smile and a positive attitude.
Years ago I had a huge art room, with no windows, only giant skylights. It felt a bit like a cave. I always had a bit of an uneasy feeling in my old room. I could never see anyone coming in. This was effectively the same as having blinds closed at all times. It creates an unsettling feeling. Having windows to look out of allows you to see who is coming and going.
There is a time to close the blinds, and that is when the sun is shining directly in, creating a glare, or making it too hot. Every morning between 8-8:30 the sun shines directly into my classroom, but if I lower one set of blinds it solves the problem. Once the sun has passed on by I open my blinds back up again. We should treat our classrooms like home. Sometimes the blinds are closed, but mostly, when we are awake, we let in the light. Schools should supply all classrooms with functional window shades for this reason. Window shades that open from the top down and bottom up are ideal.
There is a reason why homes with a great view cost more. Humans are drawn to beautiful views. Our brains are much happier when we can take a break and look to the distance. Natural light and nature views are a human necessity, we need both to thrive. When designing schools, architects should always strive to bring natural light into each and every classroom.
Classroom environment plays an important part in the well-being of students. Children spend a huge amount of time inside the classroom, the least we can do is ensure they have natural light and an adequate view of nature. If you are a teacher, consider opening the blinds. If you are a parent, check out your child's classroom. If the blinds are regularly closed, share this article with their teacher. It is time that all teachers are made aware of children's need for natural light and pull up those blinds!
What are your thoughts, do you feel happier when the blinds are open?