Read the following article, then like me laugh your head off. Children (and adults) use all their senses to learn and the assertion that children learn better by being asked to sit still and concentrate on what material is being fed to them by an adult is complete rubbish. Bare walls do not instill a sense of belonging, curiosity, wonder or for that matter give children the ability to take in things that interest them at their own pace and ability.
Modern theorists suggest that children learn best through being active. Having the expectation that 4, 5 ,6 year old’s learn better from sitting in stark conditions is rubbish, this idea does not reflect Aotearoa/ New Zealand early child curriculum where children are to be treated as individuals and as such have their assessed learning style respected and provided for in daily teaching.
It is imperative that children at preschool/kindergarten are surrounded by and stimulated through verbal and nonverbal imagery that reflects their own culture, community, and their own contribution to the class room/ centre. In the following article what were they testing for? was it can children regurgitate rote or teacher led facts because their own learning styles have been disregarded? Perhaps instead they should have assessed children for a growing sense of confidence and wonderment received from the colourful walls around them. No doubt they were learning to create their own working theories from supported use of their imaginations.
Under 7 year olds get distracted just like 40 something year olds, providing bare walls will not improve children’s ability to actually learn it only treats them as drones.
“A recent study, reported by NBC News, has found that for young children, adopting a more subdued approach to classroom decoration has merit. The study was one of the first to examine how decorations impact learning. It found that when kindergartners were taught in a highly decorated classroom, they were more distracted and scored lower on tests than when they were taught in a room with bare walls.
“Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University followed a group of 24 kindergartners taught in two simulated classrooms: one with bare walls, the other decorated with commercial materials like presidential photos, science posters and maps, as well as the children’s artwork. During the lessons, children sat on carpet squares in a semicircle facing the teacher, who read aloud from a picture book. They participated in six lessons of five- to seven-minutes each in which the teacher read aloud on topics such as plate tectonics, the Solar System and bugs. After each lesson, the children took multiple-choice picture tests. Lessons were observed and videotaped to monitor how often the children were focused on the teacher or ‘off task,’ distracted by themselves, other students or the visual environment.
“In the sparse classroom, the kindergartners got distracted by other students or even themselves. But in the decorated one, children were more likely to be distracted by the visual environment and spent far more time ‘off task.’ Anna V. Fisher, the study’s lead author and an associate psychology professor, said the findings showed that the classroom environment can be distracting and negatively impact learning.”