Thursday, July 25, 2013

Natural Light and Learning Styles

If you've heard about learning styles, you know that some people prefer to concentrate in dimly lit rooms while others need bright light in order to think properly.

But that's not the whole story. Turns out, if you want a healthier child who gets better grades, let them play outside. Here's why.

No matter what their learning style, students and teachers alike can benefit from utilising natural light in the classroom. A Daystar article, Benefits of Natural Daylighting (1998), states that "there is increased student and teacher attendance, increased achievement rates, reduced fatigue factors, improved student health, and enhancement of general development. Furthermore, natural lighting eliminates noise and flickering from electric light sources and provides the best quality of light available in classrooms, gymnasiums, and corridors. Other research has shown that students in windowless classrooms are more hostile, hesitant, and maladjusted. Also, students in windowless classrooms tend to be less interested in their work and complain more."

Scientists know that the sun is a primary source of vitamin D, and increasing vitamin D intake stimulates calcium metabolism. There is a strong correlation between the amount of sunlight a child experiences and the level of dental decay. This means that day light is a crucial element in cavity prevention. Research shows that students’ rates of dental decay have decreased in schools lit by natural sunlight.

Still not convinced? The Capistrano Unified School District in Orange County, California, observed that the classrooms with the most amount of sun light had a 20% faster learning rate in math and a 26% faster learning rate in reading during one school year when compared to classrooms with the least amount of sun light (Heschong Mahone Group 1999a).

We don't know about you, but we're going to sit in the sun at lunchtime.

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