In a previous blog, "How to Effectively Create Student-Centered Learning Environments," we discussed some of the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on student learning.
While educators and administrators struggle to create high-impact learning environments (virtually and in-person) in the midst of changing regulations and health concerns, they must also balance students' social, emotional, and physical well-being.
In order to do this, we must embrace the idea that we need to create spaces that support our students to help them feel like they belong, feel safe and secure, and will inspire them to learn. In this series of blogs, we ask the question, can we re-think learning environments as student-centered ecosystems? This approach to building learning environments is more like a biological ecosystem where all things—living and nonliving—inhabit a space and interact with each other.
A student-centered ecosystem is built to ensure students can confidently say the following:
- “I’m inspired.”
- “I’m secure.”
- “I belong.”
We're going to take a closer look at "I'm secure" spaces. Click the links above to learn more about the other two spaces of a student-centered ecosystem.
Secure & Safe Learning Environments Promote Social-Emotional Learning
In creating “I’m secure” environments, let's think about those spaces that make us feel comfortable, where we can be ourselves. For many of us that is our home environment, spaces that evolve and allow us to express ourselves, bring comfort, and are our places of refuge. So in creating student-centered ecosystems, what can we learn from our students that have been learning in transition?
Ideally, the transition from home to school should have as little disruption on students as possible. Visioning home activities that elevate your students’ curiosity and security will help you recreate learning spaces at school. This approach also allows students to find those areas of comfort, security, and ownership.
For more ideas: "Promote Social-Emotional Learning With Classroom Furniture and Setup"
Using Classroom Furniture - Build “I’m Secure” Spaces
School furniture elements like soft seating, rocking chairs, and movement stools will need to be available, along with a variety of chair options.
It’s important you provide your students with the flexibility to choose the seat they feel most comfortable in for the activity they are tasked with. This approach will improve their engagement and success and it will remove the stress points on the body, allowing your students to be optimally engaged.
Lastly, providing your students with standing, seated, and even floor-height work surfaces will allow movement that is needed for the brain to work by helping with blood flow, respiration, alertness, and reducing fatigue. In this sense, the classroom feels like home.
To explore teaching strategies and other classroom setup ideas, check out the blog series on Social Emotional Learning. The blog "Promote Emotional Processing with Effective Classroom Furniture" provides strategies for teaching emotional processing.
Next Steps to Building a Student-Centered Ecosystem
If you'd like more information on how to create a successful student-centered ecosystem that helps promote student safety and security, let us know! At Artcobell, our furniture experts are passionate about helping students succeed by equipping schools with the tools they need. From help designing classroom layouts to tips for making a school furniture purchase, we're your partner for creating student-centered learning environments that work!