In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020, many universities and educational facilities had to make adjustments to accommodate mandated restrictions to protect the health of the student body and faculty. With social distancing becoming a norm throughout the country, one-way educational facilities were able to maintain their on-campus activities by moving much of it outdoors into previously underutilized spaces.
While life has slowly reverted to some semblance of normalcy and many of the COVID-19 era mandates have begun to cease, some things should perhaps remain in place as a permanent fixture of educational facilities. One of those is the use of outdoor learning spaces.
Greater Focus on Health and Wellbeing
As a direct result of the pandemic, many schools have had to be more mindful of their student’s health and how to protect it. One way that educational faculties have been able to promote good health is by moving more activities outside.
- Air Quality: While social distancing is the main cause for moving classes and school events outdoors, it is undeniable that the air quality outdoors is typically better than what is inside the campus facilities. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, air quality indoors can contain as much as 2 to 5 times the pollutants as the air outside.
- Outdoor Space: In addition to improved air quality outdoors, spending time in the sun has the direct benefit of boosting your immune function (including COVID-19), relieving stress, reducing depression symptoms, and overall boosting your emotional and mental health. The bottom line is that spending time outdoors can significantly improve your overall health.
- Capacity: Depending on the campus, expanding indoor classroom capacity can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor that can be avoided by moving outside. Many educational facilities have underutilized outdoor spaces that can be put to use for classroom purposes without the costs of constructing new facilities.
Outdoor Learning Spaces for Educational Facilities
In addition to the health benefits of spending more time outdoors, here are some other reasons educational facilities should consider keeping outdoor learning spaces as permanent fixtures on their campuses.
- Cost-Effective Way to Offer Better Air Quality: Instead of investing in new infrastructure to improve the air quality indoors, moving outside is both more practical and cost-effective for educational faculties to improve the air quality for students.
- Utilizing Unused or Underused Spaces: Many campuses already have vast swathes of outdoor space that are underutilized. Rather than investing in a new building or add-on for an existing one, putting existing grounds to use will save schools money and time.
- Flexibility – Multi-Functional Spaces: Another key advantage to using outdoor spaces is that schools can quickly reconfigure them to expand or reduce capacity, in addition to any other purpose. By using flexible barriers, such as TerraCast’s resin planters, you can customize the layout of an outdoor learning space as necessary.
- Higher Academic Performance: Coupled with the benefits of being outdoors—such as improved emotional, physical, and mental health—students will be able to focus and experience better academic performance.
Using Planters for Outdoor Learning Spaces
For schools looking to expand their outdoor learning spaces cost-effectively, using TerraCast’s planters may be an ideal solution. Their resin planters use up to 100 percent PCR (post-consumer recycled) materials that are eco-friendly and perfect for promoting good health. They are durable and weather resistant, making them great for year-round outdoor application without being a permanent construction.
They are also lightweight and moveable, providing much-needed flexibility for educational facilities that may need to change the layout of their outdoor learning spaces from time to time. Additionally, plants can help minimize surrounding noise, helping students focus on other studies in addition to providing shade on a hot day by using tall plants or small trees.
Consider TerraCast today to begin creating flexible outdoor learning spaces. We offer many resin products including planters and light-pole bases. To learn more about our products, contact us today!