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Health Check: Kindergarten walls

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • June 10, 2014 - 1:43 PM

Kindergarten classroom walls are typically covered with cheerful, busy artwork. Colorful charts, calendars, drawings and handwriting pages can nearly take over all the open space. But a new study questions whether all the sensory effect might be detrimental to young children’s ability to focus and learn the lessons being taught.

For a study at Carnegie Mellon University, 24 kindergartners were given six introductory science lessons on unfamiliar topics. They were taught half the lessons in a heavily decorated classroom and half in a sparsely decorated classroom. The students learned in both classrooms but learned more in the classrooms with fewer decorations.

According to lead author Anna V. Fisher, the research showed that a classroom’s visual environment can affect how much young children learn, but more research is needed to measure the full effect.

“I would suggest that instead of removing all decorations, teachers should consider whether some of their visual displays may be distracting to young children,” Fisher said.

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