School Environments

What kind of school environments optimize the way students learn, teachers teach, and communities interact? Schools that take a whole child approach to education are conscious of the intersection between physical space and the cognitive, social, and emotional development of students, rather than focusing on one element in isolation. The learning environments we create—the physical along with school climate—can either help or hinder learning, development, teaching, and collaboration.

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From the Whole Child Blog

Shaping Spaces to Facilitate Learning and Development

Winston Churchill was on to something when he said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." How are our schools shaping our students' learning experiences; social, emotional, and cognitive development; behavior; and readiness for college, careers, and citizenship? What do our schools say about our values and views of learning, teaching, children, educators, and the role of the community in schools?

Beyond our school building, the ways we set up classrooms and cafeterias, use school buildings after the bell, create learning opportunities outside the classroom, and display student work in halls and on walls speak volumes about our learning cultures. Educators with limited or no financial resources who are committed to transforming the learning culture can use student input, research, creativity, and ingenuity to guide the re-creation of learning spaces. Although some communities have the luxury of building new schools, many others have had to retain design elements from the first half of the last century. And most of us remember design fads that have come and gone because they weren't effective.

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Whole Child Examples

Elementary Example

This Award Winning School is Dedicated to School Health

This school has been dedicated to school health promotion and has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Health Promoting School International Accreditation Gold medal from the Health Promotion Board, Ministry of Health and Welfare.

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Fast, Free, Online: The ASCD School Improvement Tool

Designed for use in schools and districts, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment.