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Building Wellbeing: 6 ways to boost mental health in your school classroom

The school environment plays a crucial role in shaping young minds and their experience of education. Children today face increasing pressure, anxiety, and stress, which combined can have a devastating impact on their mental health. At Vertis we believe well-designed learning spaces can profoundly shape student and teacher wellbeing. The classroom is where most of school life and learning takes place, so it’s vital that it’s a place that actually makes people happy.

Here's some suggestions of how your classroom space could be harnessed to cultivate a happier learning environment:

1. Create a Sense of Connection:

  • Flexible Layouts: Ditch rigid rows for something more dynamic. Movable furniture and reconfigurable walls allow group work, collaboration, and personalised learning, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

  • Embrace nature: Studies show nature exposure reduces stress and improves focus. Integrate natural elements like plants, natural light, and even water features. Do windows bring in a good amount of the natural surroundings, and are the outdoors easily accessible?

2. Promote Physical Activity:

  • Integrated Movement Spaces: Incorporate designated movement zones within classrooms. Think balance beams, climbing structures, or even yoga mats. These encourage short bursts of activity, improving focus and reducing restlessness.

  • Outdoor Learning: Modular classrooms can be easily adapted to connect directly to outdoor learning areas. Imagine an extension with a covered seating area for nature lessons, messy play, or just fresh air breaks.

3. Nurture Emotional Intelligence:

  • Calm Corners: Create dedicated spaces for quiet reflection and emotional regulation. This could be a cosy corner with calming colours, soft lighting, and comforting textures.

  • Mindfulness Activities: Integrate mindfulness exercises into the daily routine, giving everyone a chance for quiet reflection and awareness. Modular classrooms can be designed with dedicated areas for meditation, breathing exercises, or even yoga sessions, fostering emotional awareness and self-regulation.

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4. Prioritise Personalisation:

  • Choice and Control: Empower students with choices in their learning environment. How could they put a stamp on the classroom and make it their own? Modular classrooms can be equipped with adjustable furniture, personal lighting controls, or even interactive displays that allow students to personalise their learning experience, fostering a sense of ownership and control.

  • Sensory Awareness: Consider individual sensory needs around noise and light. Modular classrooms can be designed with acoustic panels, adjustable lighting, and designated quiet areas to cater to diverse learning styles and sensitivities.

5. Foster Collaboration and Communication:

  • Open Communication: Create a safe and inclusive environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves. Encourage open communication between students and teachers, fostering a sense of belonging and support.

  • Collaborative Learning: Modular classrooms offer the flexibility to create breakout spaces for group projects and discussions. This promotes teamwork, communication skills, and a sense of shared responsibility.

6. Invest in the right structures for the future

  • Light, heat and air: Does your classroom accommodate for the essentials of temperature control, sunlight exposure and ventilation? Or is it stuffy, damp and dark? Could you improve any of these? At Vertis we make them a priority. For example, on our next building we are looking forward to integrating this new Passivent hybrid ventilator that facilitates fresh air supply, warm and cold temperatures and maintains healthy CO2 levels.

  • Flexibility and choice: Sometimes we have to work with the space we’re given and adapt. But if you have an opportunity to build something new, you get the chance to make it just the way you want and need it. Modular classrooms are excellent for this and can be adapted to fit many spaces and facilitate many purposes.

Of course the journey to well-being is a journey that involves many factors. As well as the right learning space, teaching styles and school culture are also vital. But shaping the classroom is a great place to start. Maybe you can do it with your current setup and a new approach, or perhaps you’d like to invest in new classrooms that are dedicated to cultivating flexible and happy learning?

That’s what we specialise in at Vertis. If it’s something you’d like to explore, you can book a free in-person consultation with us to discuss ideas and opportunities for your school. Just get in touch here if you’re interested. Plus, you can get £5k off your building with Vertis just for joining our mailing list, you can join that here.