At the beginning this may sound like a topic of janitorial importance, however when it comes to school education it is of paramount significance as the facilities in a given school often loudly speak the goal and mission of the school. Facilities provided in a school show the environmental support that an educational institution claims to offer. Facilities help in developing an ecosystem which is conducive and collaborating to the academic expectations of the institutions.
Depending upon the age group of the child, the facilities can either serve as encouraging curiosity and inquisitiveness in the child or it can be used to promote discipline and manners. For example, if a school is offering the bus service, this is a place where kids interact with other kids in a relatively unsupervised environment and can provide ample opportunities for the kids to learn interpersonal skills and well as at times it can result in a situation which is very counter-productive in the development of a child and the school environment and reputation overall.
Let us come back to the physical aspect of the facilities in a given school. There are five main environmental conditions which play a significant role in a student’s success, namely as below.
Loud sounds can be uncomfortable and annoying. The ability of teachers and students to learn is weakened by noise. These distractions are often caused by heating and ventilation systems, surrounding classrooms, facilities, local airports, and traffic. Research shows that children who live in quieter classrooms are more engaged and successful than those who attend schools with more background noise.
One study looked at reading test scores from two schools with identical demographic variables. The difference was that one school was under the airport runway, while the other was in a quiet area. Students attending schools under the jet route had significantly lower reading test scores than those in less busy schools.
Another important element is indoor air quality (IAQ). Absenteeism is a result of poor air quality, especially for asthmatic students. Student achievement measurements may be less about determining learning and more a gauge of a student's health and their capacity for concentrate as a result of rising absence rates and difficulties concentrating while in school.
In addition, studies show that some schools have “sick building syndrome," a set of symptoms that include fatigue, dry skin, and headaches. This affects teacher and student performance and absenteeism.
Additionally, due to poor indoor air quality (IAQ), these facilities have higher levels of bacteria, viruses, allergies, and indoor pollutants from office equipment, cleaning supplies, pesticides, flooring materials, paints, and adhesives. All of these indoor pollutants have been linked to increased absences and childhood illnesses.
Studies show that natural light improves morale for teachers and students. In addition, it improves test scores and reduces off-task behavior. Environments with low natural light have been shown to produce less than ideal results.
It is observed that many schools, especially those constructed in the 1980s and 1990s, were constructed with little access to natural light, much like bunkers. That's what we constructed at the time. Windows were limited since we wanted to prevent heat buildup and achieve energy savings. It was a response to the environmental problems of the period. But people started to ask why attendance was declining when children were confined under fluorescent lights and didn't really get much natural light throughout the day.
Anyone who has worked in a hot or cold office knows how hard it can be to focus when you are uncomfortable. Regardless of your age, the weather affects your productivity and participation. This affects both teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
Going into a classroom and not feeling comfortable takes the attention off learning. My daughter, for example, takes a coat to school every day because she knows she'll be cold when she arrives to class. That's one of the facility's functions. The best studies suggest that 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range for effective reading and arithmetic instruction.
Teachers can rearrange seating and use different teaching techniques in classrooms with enough space to spread out. In addition, they allow the development of smaller study rooms and private study rooms with less visual and acoustic disturbances.
Student hostility has been repeatedly linked to overcrowding and lower levels of interest and learning. Flexible and reconfigurable classrooms are associated with greater student engagement and learning.
It's not always best to build a room with rows of tables in 800 square feet. Classroom design has evolved with pedagogy. For students to collaborate and communicate effectively to solve challenges, a flexible workspace is essential.
In summary, the data demonstrates a clear link between facilities, maintenance and student performance and attendance. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, schools without significant maintenance backlogs typically have higher average daily attendance (ADA) rates of 4 to 5 pupils per 1,000 students. Additionally, their annual dropout rate is 10 to 13 pupils per 1,000 or fewer. According to the EPA, test results also rise when building conditions improve. According to studies, exam results can increase by 3 to 17 percent.