What does the color on the wall or the shape of a chair have to do with a child’s ability to learn? Quite a lot as a matter of fact.
Many studies show (Link) that our brains associate feelings and emotions with colors and images. The scientific term for it is color psychology and it is an area of study that’s widely used in designing school environments. For example, blues and greens signal to the brain a sense of calmness, serenity, stability and can even support retaining information.
As the new Director of Student Wellness one of my first goals was to create a new physical environment to help students feel safe and well. I worked with my colleague, Kendall Shoemake, AHOS: Programs and DEIB, and others at the start of the school year to redefine the former Dean of Students office to create a brand new space for wellness work to happen. That’s how the new BHS Wellness Center came into being.
Wellness can relate to our physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental state. At Berkeley Hall we define it as “our undeniable right to health and wholeness.” We believe that if our students are not healthy, this can be a barrier to their learning and growth in the classroom. This is why it’s important for us to have a space where students can experience all these aspects of wellness.
When we started to reimagine the new space, we wanted to make use of existing ideas and also learn from the people who were here before us. We recognize the positive impact others have had on the social and emotional learning (SEL). experience of students at Berkeley Hall. Their work during and after the pandemic helped us get back to normalcy quickly and efficiently. It was important for us to incorporate their thinking and also remain totally aligned to our core values and mission for this project.
Mr. Shoemake and I fulfill a unique purpose here at Berkeley Hall. We do intentional SEL work, where we have tough conversations and give students a sense of accountability and an understanding of the intent behind their actions and their impact. In doing so, we always strive to approach our work through the lens of our students’ needs