The built environment and access to resources can have a profound impact on the well-being of all learners and significantly those children and young people with limited mobility and/or sensory sensitivity.
The ability to feel at ease in the environment nurtures child development and the process of active learning (Mcallister and Maguire 2012). Indeed, ‘classroom and school design can transform the inclusive learning and teaching provision, especially for children with ‘hidden’ disabilities such as specific learning difficulties or autism’ (Middlemas, 2012: 77). Guidance highlights environmental considerations as well as health and well-being:
- Good access to buildings and facilities.
- Making effective use of available space/design for flexibility and adaptability.
- Considering the accommodation needs of support staff and visiting professionals.
- Enhancing learning through effective classroom design.
- Good use of information communication technology (ICT) and assistive technologies.
- Sensory awareness/acoustics/lighting.
- Health and well-being for staff and students.
- Safety and security issues.
- Sustainability/cost effectiveness.
- Effective staff training.
- Working closely with all stakeholders, and listening to the ‘student voice’.
(DCSF 2009: 5 cited in Middlemas, 2012: 77)
Using the 2D classroom model, design the physical environment to meet the diverse needs of your community of learners. Be mindful of good practice guidelines and the need to respond to the requirements of individual learners.
View the podcasts (two teachers) and note the reflections on the day to day challenges and opportunities to support learning in an inclusive environment.