Bringing Nature Into The Classroom: How Independent Schools Can Implement Biophilic Design To Enhance Learning Environments
We have previously looked at how going outside the classroom helps students access a natural learning environment to support social skills and wellbeing. However, it may not be practical to leave your warm, dry learning environment and therefore we now look at how to bring nature inside to give students and staff access to the same health and positive mood benefits indoors, where they potentially spend significant amounts of time. Biophilic design is an innovative approach to building design which is particularly relevant in educational settings and that aims to support physical and emotional wellbeing, improve learning outcomes and enhance academic performance.
The Importance of Good Biophilic Lighting
Our recent designs for Putney High School for Girls put natural lighting – and easy access to it throughout, for example how we could mimic its ambient qualities (Kellert, 2018) – at the core of our ideas. Rather than harsh, often industrial monolith lighting seen in some learning environments (which causes major challenges for neuro-diverse students), we created a mottled effect to soften the light from a new roof light which picked up moving graphics with the changing light, and added warmer tones to celebrate inclusion and provide feelings of intimacy and trust.
How can Biophilic Design Enhance Learning Environments in Independent Schools?
Adding Nature to the Curriculum
Kellert, S, (2018) Nature by Design: The Practice of Biophilic Design
(Grinde and Patil, 2009) Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?
Kaplan & Kaplan, 1989, Kaplan (1995) The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework