Six Ways To Create A Healthier Environment In Educational Institutions

Early in life, when the environment is crucial in shaping one’s life, children spend a significant proportion of their day in school. It goes without saying that the school environment and learning atmosphere severely affect their development in later years.

In the United States, nearly 53 million children spend a significant part of the day in school. Similarly, university students are expected to spend 20-30 hours a week in their educational institute.

The atmosphere, activities, and dietary choices in school all have an impact on their students and have the potential to either cause them harm or benefit. Sadly though, many educational institutes do not take note of this, and their standards are not up to par.

The management must look into this issue and ensure a healthy learning environment for their students. Below are some useful ways to achieve this end and make your institute’s environment conducive to your student’s healthy future.

1. Work on injury prevention and first aid

Injury prevention and cure are both crucial elements to consider in education institutes. Mainly if your institute includes sports facilities, first aid training is indispensable. Children will be children, and even ordinary play can result in injuries that require immediate attention. Similarly, the potential for injury in sports teams and training is there.

Adequate safety measures are mandatory in educational institutes. In the UK, for instance, institutes are legally obliged to ensure safety, including first aid. It would also help to have some expertise in human movement science.

You can hire a professional with a masters in human movement science to facilitate your physical education courses and make them safer for the students.

2. Improve air quality

Air quality is a significant concern, especially with the prevailing smog situation during winter. Poor air quality can significantly negatively impact one’s physical health and lead to coughing, eye irritation, allergic reactions, headaches, and more.

About 1 in every 13 school-going children has asthma. In schools, such problems can threaten the health and safety of the staff and students and cause a hindrance to their learning.

Bad air quality poses a more severe threat to asthmatic individuals, and they may not be able to attend school regularly.

Unfortunately, 41% of school districts are reported to need improvement or replacement in heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems. These, collectively termed HVAC systems, have a major role in maintaining good air quality.

Ensure the ventilation systems are working properly; ventilation helps dilute pollutants and ensure fresh air circulation. Installing an air purifier should help filter the polluted air, which can help control the concentration of harmful aerosols by 90% within 30 minutes.

3. Ensure proper lighting

Poor lighting can significantly hinder the learning environment and negatively impact the student’s health and well-being. In fact, lighting affects not only vision but also psychologically and emotionally.

The goal should be to ensure maximum visual comfort while being bright enough to facilitate learning and keep the children alert and attentive. Research has shown that the intensity, color, dynamism, etc., of light all increase reading speed (by 35%) and prevent comprehension errors (by 45%).

It is a good idea to have lighting options that can be adjusted and controlled according to the situation. Dynamic lighting lets you alter the color, temperature, and luminous flux per your requirement. Activities that require creativity, concentration, or rest each benefit from a different type of lighting.

4. Control noise

Not only does noise hinder learning and concentration, but chronic noise pollution can harm one’s physiological health. It can cause increased irritability, stress, and annoyance.

Research has also shown that noise is linked with poorer academic performance; it causes a lack of focus, difficulty completing cognitive tasks, and overall impaired performance on various numeracy and literacy tests.

Ensure that the classrooms have proper sound insulation; you can install sound-absorbing panels, sound-reducing windows, seals on doors and windows, and high-noise reduction coefficient tiles on ceilings.

Noise from the HVAC systems also needs to be controlled, and special care must be taken to ensure that any construction activities should be done after school hours.

5. Bring nature indoors

The term ‘biophilia’ refers to our innate desire to have some connection with nature. So it is a natural human tendency to enjoy and benefit from being in nature.

Research has proven that such interaction makes one calmer, reduces negative thoughts, minimizes the impact of chronic stress, and ensures better overall well-being.

For students, having plants in classrooms will improve their mental and physical health, help them recover from stress and fatigue, lower aggression, improve attention, develop self-discipline, and enhance test performance.

A study showed that in schools where there was greater tree cover, academic performance was better.

Several indoor plants don’t need much sunlight to thrive; introduce these to your classrooms. Doing so will also improve air quality by removing carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen.

6. Monitor the temperature

Poor temperature control will inevitably make it harder for students to focus; paying attention to the task at hand is difficult when it’s freezing or scorching hot. Stuffy rooms that are warmer than necessary make one drowsy, while rooms that are too cold cause discomfort and make it harder to focus.

You must have an easy-to-monitor heating system in classrooms or a central heating system for the school. Radiators and valves are easy-to-understand options that the teacher can control without hassle.

You should prioritize installing a good heating and cooling system. Temperature control is more critical for young children, and thermal discomfort can be more detrimental to their health when compared to others.

Optimal humidity levels are also crucial, so investing in an air humidifier and dehumidifier is a good idea.

Final words

Students spend a significant portion of their day in school; thus, the school environment has a vital role in their health and well-being. Educational institutes are responsible for ensuring that their students get a safe and secure environment.

Institutes should invest in first aid and injury prevention, improve air quality, ensure proper lighting, control noise, and temperature, and introduce nature in classrooms.

These aspects of the environment influence the student’s academic performance and have implications for their overall psychological and physical well-being. 

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