Bringing the outdoors in is a concept that many people overlook as either difficult, unnecessary, or unappealing, however, it is not as difficult as it may at first seem. So much inspiration can be drawn from the outdoors, from colours to shapes to materials – they can all be used to model the inside of any classroom, anywhere. In particular, eco classrooms, as they’re already so connected and integrated with the environment and the outdoors. So how can you link your eco classroom to its surroundings?
How to link eco classrooms to the outdoors:
Bring plants indoors – This in an easy, effortless way to bring nature into your eco classroom, as well as a quick spot of interior decorating! You could use a variety of fresh flowers of leafy plants. Plants also improve the air quality, so you’re doing everybody a favour.
Grow your own plants – You could even try growing your own indoor plants from seeds or shoots, anything from small pretty primroses to slightly more unusual bamboo plants – there are thousands of choices available!
Encourage natural light – Like some other buildings and classrooms, eco classrooms can have very large glass windows, some stretching floor to ceiling which allow bright, natural light to stream in, thus reducing the need for too much artificial light and energy. If your classroom doesn’t already have large windows, you could try not using blinds, curtains or posters that may obstruct the light.
Lighter walls reflect light– Brighter, lighter walls will work alongside the natural light to brighten and illuminate a classroom, giving you the effect that you are in fact outside! You could repaint entire walls, or for eco classrooms for younger children, you could very simply paint images on the walls, anything from flowers and trees to butterflies an bees – the opportunities are endless!
Introduce wood as furniture – Eco classrooms are typically wooden on the outside, so they are quite literally made of the outdoors! Introducing more wood into your classroom in the form of rustic benches, tables, or even a small tree can really help add to the natural, outdoorsy atmosphere of a classroom.
These are just some of many methods that you can use to help bring the outdoors in to your eco classroom, but the possibilities are truly endless, from small scale to large, drastic changes, and many options at very low costs, there are simply no excuses!
Eco classrooms are very flexible learning environments, and can be used to fascinate children and students of all ages. Younger children enjoy the freedom of being so close to the outdoors, particularly if you choose to use some of the aforementioned ideas and bring the outdoors in to your eco classroom. On the other hand, older children can be taught the workings of the eco classrooms, and go more into depth of the functions and benefits of going eco.
Eco classrooms contrast to regular classrooms, which results in children being fascinated by the building, and curious as to how and why certain aspects are beneficial to themselves and the environment. This therefore creates an ideal learning environment for all ages, as their minds are keyed up, excited, and ready to learn!
Are you willing to let the outdoors in?