Why invest in your school environment?
Investing in your school environment is investing in your students’ success. At Room Redefined, we believe that the environment is “the other teacher”. It plays a vital role in creating a dynamic relationship between your students and teachers, clarifying who you are as a school, what you stand for, and what you support your students in becoming.
It provides the structure to boost your programming to new levels, communicates who you are as a community and who you aspire to become. A healthy school environment is made up of spaces that are organized and designed for teaching and learning, and a combination of spaces that enhances your school mission.
Why is an organized classroom important for learning (and teaching!)
An organized classroom has unseen benefits and can have a significant impact on student learning in several ways:
As a professional organizer, we know that when a classroom is organized, students are less likely to be distracted by clutter or disorganization. Students not only can focus on the task at hand, but they are much more likely to stay engaged in the learning process. That engagement directly affects how quickly students learn the material, as well as retain what they have learned.
Promotes a sense of calm
It is well known that an organized space can bring a sense of clarity and allow one to focus fully on the task at hand. An organized classroom is no different and through order, can promote a sense of calm, which in turn helps students feel more relaxed and focused. This can lead to improved concentration and retention of information.
Enhances student responsibility
When students are engaged and taught to keep their classroom organized, they learn valuable skills in responsibility and self-discipline. They become accountable for their own space and are more likely to take ownership of their learning.
Facilitates efficient use of time
An organized classroom allows for the process and flow of learning to be easier for both students and teachers. Students can more easily find the materials they need, and teachers can quickly access resources and materials to support their lessons.
Classroom organization is a win-win for everyone involved, creating a more positive learning environment, reducing stress, and improving student performance.
Does your school environment enhance your school mission?
As a school, you have a mission statement that drives your business forward. That mission allows your staff to rally behind to bring that mission to life. But what role does your school environment play in achieving the organization’s mission? Is the mission only a set of words posted on your website or kept locked up in the office? Or, is your mission the driving force behind who you are, what you do, and what keeps you going when the times get tough?
Research and best practices demonstrate that well articulated mission statements which are actively communicated within a school’s environment, programming, and practices have the best possibility for radical change. It is then that the mission can help busy teachers and students focus on the why when they are feeling overwhelmed with the what. This unified messaging and practice shows stakeholders why the work you do is different from everyone else and has the power to strengthen the impact of that work. When implemented well, it becomes a key factor in recruitment and retention of students and staff.
A successful school sees all the moving parts as an opportunity to lean in and create success. That includes the building itself, the organized structure of the school, and the role the classroom plays in the success of each student.
How does your school stack up?
When assessing the effectiveness of your learning environments, it’s best to start by clarifying what makes your school stand out in its offerings- how your mission is unique. Then review what makes your environment effective, and where there are issues that need to be addressed. The best learning environments are those that are conducive to learning and promote engagement, motivation, and student success in alignment with the school mission. Students learn best in environments that are student-centered, promote active engagement and participation, and support the diverse needs of learners. All schools want to create successful learners- how does yours do it in a way that no one else can compare?
How can your students experience your mission in action? How will you know it will be effective? Use these guidelines to rank how well your school rates in the following areas. Then ask yourself, are we communicating how we are accomplishing these things in a way that only our school can? Here are a few ways to consider how to integrate mission into the classroom.
Safe and supportive
Students must feel safe and supported to learn. Do the classrooms provide a safe and supportive environment for all students? A safe and supportive learning environment is one where students feel comfortable taking risks, asking questions, and expressing their ideas without fear of judgment or criticism. How are you doing this in a way that is uniquely you?
Interactive and collaborative
Collaboration and creativity goes hand-in-hand. Do the classrooms foster collaboration and interaction between the students? Learning environments that promote interaction and collaboration among students can enhance the learning experience by providing opportunities for students to share ideas, engage in discussion and debate, and learn from one another. What does this look like in your school environment? How are you showing that to your community?
Engaging and stimulating
True learning happens when students engage with the material and the teachers. Do the classrooms engage and stimulate conversation and learning? Learning environments that are stimulating and engaging can motivate students to learn and promote curiosity and interest in the subject matter. How is this evident as you walk through your school campus?
Flexible and adaptable
Classroom environments should be adaptable to different student’s learning styles. How adaptable would you rate your school? The best learning environments are flexible and adaptable, allowing for different learning styles and accommodating the needs of diverse learners. Are you helping all students who walk through your door feel as if this is a school for them?
Technology is the foundation of learning. Does your school incorporate the right technologies to boost learning? Technology can enhance learning by providing access to information, promoting collaboration, and providing interactive learning experiences. How are you incorporating technology in a way that intentionally supports your individual school mission?
Well-organized and structured
Organization is key to any environment to foster clarity and order. How well organized are your classrooms? A well-organized and structured learning environment can help students stay focused and on-task, providing clear expectations and a sense of order and purpose. Are there areas of your campus that are better organized and more functional than others? Are you missing an opportunity to use some of your “prime real estate” to communicate who you are as a school and promote student learning in a meaningful way?
Rating your organization
An effective learning environment can be the driving force behind the success of the school. Taking your organization’s mission statement and bringing that vision into the classroom, supporting your staff to create the most optimized learning environment, is one step towards all around success.
Is your organization ready to reach its full potential? Reach out to Room Redefined to see where your school rates in matching the organization’s mission to the learning environment.
Erin Gaskins is owner of Room Redefined, a professional organizing company based in Denver, Colorado. After 25 years in public education, Erin decided to put her passion for organizing to work in the service of others and entered the entrepreneurship journey. Five years later, Room Redefined stands out in their dedication to offering customized organizing services to homeowners, businesses, and schools. She and her company are strongly committed to the work of changing society’s narrative- helping other women feel comfortable with the notion that we are all stronger when we give up the “superwoman complex” and work together to accomplish our goals!