Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child

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Physical Environment

What is it?
A healthy and safe physical school environment promotes learning by ensuring the health and safety of students and staff. The physical school environment encompasses the school building and its contents, the land on which the school is located, and the area surrounding it. A healthy school environment will address a school’s physical condition during normal operation as well as during renovation (e.g., ventilation, moisture, temperature, noise, and natural and artificial lighting), and protect occupants from physical threats (e.g., crime, violence, traffic, and injuries) and biological and chemical agents in the air, water, or soil as well as those purposefully brought into the school (e.g., pollution, mold, hazardous materials, pesticides, and cleaning agents).

Ideas for Your PTA

  • Promote safe and active routes to schools including walking and biking.
  • Welcome shared or open use agreements for your school facilities.
  • Advocate for outdoor learning areas like school gardens, playgrounds, walking trails, and outdoor classrooms.
  • Prioritize investing in your school’s physical environment by budgeting for things like school gardens and walking trails
  • Schedule a day of service to beautify your school’s grounds
  • Conduct an assessment to determine what improvements are practical at your school
  • Explore shade structures for your outdoor space
  • Consider naturalizing your physical environment like fences by planting around them
  • Think outside of the box for how your physical environment contributes to learning: composting and recycling areas can add depth and value to your school.
  • Make your school entryway and main office more welcoming by including plants, student artwork, and PTA information

running-boy     girl-with-carrots

Resources

aha-school-gardens      just-ask-outdoor-learning-environments

Do you have other ideas to share? Email us at Marianne@ncpta.org!

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