Pay attention class!
Here’s something everyone should learn and remember – daylight increases children’s’ learning performance. Now repeat after me…
Wherever pupils and students are trying to learn, be it at school in the classroom, or at home learning in your house due to COVID restrictions, working in a room with plenty of bright daylight makes a BIG difference.
Depending on whose research you want to read, the figures remain impressive all the way through, typically ranging from between 15% – 26% better performance for children taught in natural daylight as against artificial light. Now who wouldn’t want that for their son or daughter?
Bright classrooms = brighter pupils
Solatube sun pipes allow bright natural daylight to be piped down in to classrooms (and also homes where home-learning is taking place). In fact Solatube sun tunnels have already been installed in hundreds of schools in the UK and thousands more worldwide over the years and the response is almost always the same:
When classrooms are exposed to more daylight (rather than electric lighting), teaching staff see an immediate improvement in student behaviour and concentration levels, followed by higher grades shortly afterwards.
It’s a science thing…
Natural light promotes a healthy teaching and learning environment – specifically through vitamin D generation (good for the body’s internal system and bone growth), circadian regulation and the production of neural transmitters, such as serotonin, sometimes known as the happy chemical. This leaves us feeling more energized, happy and well-rested, while fighting and reducing stress, anxiety, depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
What does all this mean? Students exposed to daylight will not only have the energy to play in the schoolyard but also improved concentration in the classroom.
It’s a psychology thing too…
Researchers found students feel better, safer and have less stress when they have access to natural light because it creates a sense of physical and mental comfort.
The facts remain undisputed
Students and pupils learning in bright classrooms become brighter students and pupils, achieving higher grades and concentrating better.
- According to research from the University of Twente, Netherlands, direct daylight increases learning performance by 15 percent.
Another study tested 21,000 students and found that those in classrooms with the most daylight progressed 20% faster on maths tests and 26% faster on reading tests in 1 year than those with the least daylighting.*
When daylight tubes were installed at a medium sized primary school in Somerset, just a few days later teaching staff commented that pupils were concentrating much better and remained focussed for longer; there was far less disruption during the day and behaviour levels were noticeably better; 2 children who suffered from daily, disruptive migraine episodes, had not experienced another event.
Building better schools with daylight to improve student performance
With most pupils and students spending many thousands of hours at school, it is perhaps no surprise that classroom design has a significant impact on effective learning, as well as children’s health and well-being. And of all of the classroom design options available to improve student performance and health, it is access to daylight that has been proved to have the most positive effects.
As we all know, daylight is much easier on the eyes than artificial light. Moreover, when students are calmer it is also easier for teachers to teach and students to learn, not to mention that a school brightly lit with daylight is just a far more pleasant environment in which to spend time.
Many old school buildings no longer meet current requirements for a healthy indoor environment, often due to insufficient daylight. “We are often asked if we can improve the quality of light in schools. It is not just about dark classrooms, but also indoor halls, corridors and stairwells. Fortunately, we can pipe daylight practically anywhere.” says Mark Veldjesgraaf, director of Techcomlight, the UK distributor for Solatube.
With Solatube Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) or sun tunnels, daylight can reach places never thought possible, overcoming limitations associated with windows and traditional skylights in both new and retrofit applications. Solatube Daylight Dimmers can also be fitted to specific sun pipe systems to allow classrooms to be darkened when watching videos or presentations, much like electric lights.
Creating healthy indoor environments with natural light sources
Frequently, we find that learning support rooms are fitted in to rooms with no windows, or where windows are even covered over in order to minimise distraction. This loss of daylight actually reduces concentration levels and induces poorer behaviour, in precisely the places where we need to improve these elements. A Solatube sun tunnel is often the ideal solution, providing lots of bright daylight but without the distraction of a view outside.
Natural light provides substantial savings on energy bills
By using natural light sources, it’s possible to save up to 60 percent on energy bills. Three quarters of an average school’s energy bill comes from lighting. Governments want to encourage schools to limit energy consumption and natural light sources are good not just for students and teachers but for the school finances, not to mention contributing to a more sustainable future.
So, have you been paying attention? What were you supposed to remember?
That’s right – daylight increases children’s’ learning performance
Want to know more? Take a look at some of the other relevant research here.
And if you want to learn more about how to maximize natural light to transform your school and improve pupil performance and health, please get in touch.
*Heschong Mahone Group “Daylighting in Schools” Report ‘99)