Health Benefits of Plants in Classrooms

Health Benefits of Plants in ClassroomsEducators have been touting the benefits of having pets in the classroom for many years now. While older students may not be so thrilled with taking care of a gerbil, hamster or other rat-like creature, the younger crowd really seems to light up when you introduce an animal to the learning environment. However, animals require regular feeding, which means regular food purchases. They also need space to move around, some exercise, a proper diet, all of those things. Don’t forget, there’s really no controlling what an animal ultimately does. These are all reasons your classroom might be better off using plants.

The health benefits of having plants in classrooms are numerous. They may not all be immediately apparent though. Granted, few of the health benefits are inherently physical in nature, so they may be very hard to see for those who aren’t specifically watching out for them. I’m talking about the mental health benefits of seeing something alive and knowing you’re playing a role in making that happen. I’m talking about the social health benefits of working together with other people to accomplish a task and continuing to work with those same people over a long length of time.

I dare say I’m a bit of an expert on the effects of having plants around, since I have my own rather extensive at-home garden. I use cost efficient grow lights that use fluorescent tubes. If you’re going to be growing anything indoors, I highly recommend getting lights like these because they use a little less energy throughout the day if they’re on all day, when compared to other types of bulbs. They’re the same type of bulbs I use with my students in our classes, more information about them is available here.

Plants around the classroom may not seem like much, but they actually help the entire room to focus better and more sharply as a whole. Building a sense of unity among your students, at least in my own experience, is crucial to getting them to work together and maintaining an air of peace in your classroom. There are plenty of ways to do this, to create this solidarity, but you probably don’t have thousands of dollars lying around to take everyone out on a ropes course, like many businesses do. These kids need to be educated and quickly to give them an edge in this highly competitive world.

That said, I’ll do anything that helps my kids to study better and get more out of the time they spend studying. The way things are right now, kids go to school for 6 or more hours a day, then get an hour of homework a night from 5 or 6 different classes – it’s really ridiculous, don’t you think? Having plants around the classroom allows students to quite literally stop and smell the roses. During a day that’s hectic enough already, don’t you think it would be nice if more of us could take a moment to enjoy something so natural and free?

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