Event date: 19 - 23 May, 2020 · Chelsea Flower Show, London

Chelsea Flower Show 2020 – The Biophilic Classroom

Design, Events, General, Headline, In the Press, News, Pastoral, Senior School, Sixth Form, Suzie Longstaff

Putney High School has been invited to Chelsea Flower Show 2020 to share research on how plants and biophilic design can positively impact pupils’ wellbeing and learning.

We are delighted to have been invited by the Royal Horticultural Society to exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show 2020 to share the findings of the first study of its kind into the impact of plants and biophilic design on learning environments.

Putney’s, The Biophilic Classroom will be recreated in the centre of Chelsea’s Discovery Zone, and demonstrate how simple design principles that use natural materials, views of nature and plants can positively impact health and productivity in the classroom.

“It’s not rocket science but we did get it from NASA!”

Clare Bowman
Architect and Putney's Sustainability Advisor

The exhibit will highlight the impact on air quality and emotional wellbeing of indoor horticulture and external landscaping and the restorative benefits they can bring to any learning environment.

It is hoped that the pioneering yet simple approach will set a new benchmark for school design, as simple but affordable changes can be made in most classrooms that can have a significant impact on wellbeing and academic focus.

The three biophilic open learning spaces in the exhibit are designed to include the use of plants, views of nature and natural materials and to stimulate the senses to calm the mind.

The exhibit will include the nine plants that made an impact at Putney – found in the study to be suitable for performance, growth and quality. These include the Areca Palm, Snake Plant and Anthurium, chosen for their positive impact on air quality.

Our Sixth Formers have had a major input in the nine month study, which was based on ‘Flourish theory’ developed by Professor Derek Clements Croome at Reading University which promotes creating a calm, natural and harmonious environment to stimulate the alpha brain waves (high relaxation) and lower the high beta brain waves (high stress).

Under the guidance of Clare Bowman, Architect and Sustainability Advisor, students have been both learning about and caring for the plants, and were widely surveyed, along with staff, about the impact of the design on their focus and wellbeing.

The data from the project has been validated by Reading University and the report has already been read by 400 experts worldwide. The findings are now informing our ongoing sustainable development and following the show, the entire stand will be rehoused at school to create a new open learning study space. The plants used will be returned to their homes in Putney classrooms.

Further information about Chelsea Flower Show 2020 can be found here. 

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