If you pay attention to the news and chatter about education policy and schools, you’ve undoubtedly heard the heated debates over the best way to hire and compensate teachers and the most appropriate way to institute rigorous curriculum. The who and the what of education often get front stage in the conversation over how to make our schools more effective at preparing students for being active, engaged citizens. However, the places our students go to learn—the where of education—also have bearing on student outcomes, and recent research has focused on making this connection clearer.
This week, the Center for Green Schools joined with The McGraw Hill Foundation to release an authoritative paper on the topic, entitled ‘The Impact of School Buildings on Childhood Health and Learning: A Call for Research.” The paper is designed to be an accessible account of current research in this field, research needed, and how individual groups (teachers and students, design professionals, government agencies, etc.) can help in the effort to draw connections between where students learn and their health and learning outcomes. Anyone who needs clear, justifiable research to support the need for better, healthier classrooms will find the summary of research into how students breathe, see, hear, move and learn immensely useful.
We know that school and district staff have seen the impact of school buildings on student attitudes, behavior and learning. Through support of research, and by getting research findings out to these staff and our wider community, we support the call from those who know our schools best for more resources to improve the places in which children learn.