CRI Video - Beautiful Spaces for Children - Promotes Benefits of Carpet in Schools
The Carpet and Rug Institute has a wealth of research and marketing material that, though not exactly new, is still useful and timely. Two good examples are a pair of videos made back in 2002. The first, on the benefits of carpet in a school environment, emphasizes that carpet makes a classroom more attractive and comfortable. The video begins,
“When it comes to the care and nurture of children, every parent instinctively wants to create an environment filled with stimulating things to absorb the child’s interest… Many educators and parents are beginning to realize the physical space students occupy contributes greatly to their emotional and educational experience.”
Other points brought out in the video include:
• Acoustic benefits. The video quotes Loraine E. Maxwell, an Environmental Psychologist at Cornell University who specializes in the effect of noise on learning. She cites negative, psychological, motivational, cognitive effects as well as potential physical damage from excessive sound levels in children’s environments’. She has written that excessive noise can have especially detrimental effects on younger children when language and discrimination skills are forming, and her work details the benefits of undeniably quieter environments that include carpet, pillows, and curtains.
• Fewer slip and fall accidents resulting in less severe injuries. A teacher on the video says, “Third graders are very physically animated - they are all over the place. I don’t care what kind of control you have in the classroom, all it takes is snow beginning to fall outside or the excitement of the weekend coming. Some things are going to happen. Children fall, children get scrapes and bruises, but having carpet on the floor, maybe a fall isn’t as bad as it normally would be.”
• Teachers prefer carpet. The video refers to a nationwide teachers’ survey that showed that 92% of teachers reported a preference for carpet in the classroom.
• Carpet is better for Indoor Air Quality – while carpet will contain dust, testing shows that the soil stays in the carpet until it is removed through vacuuming. In a carpeted classroom, less particulate matter is kicked up into the breathing zone compared to over hard surface floors.
The video is available on CRI’s YouTube channel, and it has its own page titled Beautiful Spaces for Children on the CRI website. The page also includes links to a virtual library of studies and documents examining the role of carpet in schools.
I've embedded it here and included the video transcript below:
Coincidentally, I was hired to narrate the video back when it was made in 2002, so you see, I’ve been helping spread CRI’s message about carpet even before I came to work here!
Carpet and Rug Institute's Beautiful Spaces for Children Video Transcript Promotes Carpet in Schools
Narrator: When it comes to the care and nurture of children every parent instinctively wants to create an environment filled with stimulating things to absorb the child’s interest. First and foremost in every parent’s thinking is the safety and comfort of their child; they know that a good environment not only is safe, but makes the baby feel safe. We have learned that mobiles stimulate a baby’s vision, teaching the infant to be more observant. It is said that infants practice decision making millions of times in their first two years. Infants pick up questions about the world and their place in it from the way their small world is arranged. Laurie Guevara-Stone, a writer from Mothering Magazine, writes, “Many educators and parents are beginning to realize the physical space students occupy contributes greatly to their emotional and educational experience.
Teacher: This school was renovated a couple of years ago and they created an absolutely gorgeous place for children. A place for them to come into and feel important because things were arranged for them. Part of showing them you treat them with respect is having a very attractive place for them to work in and a place that is easy for them to work in. We enjoy this school and the carpet makes a big difference in this school.
Narrator: 92% of teachers in one survey believe classroom design has a strong impact on student learning and achievement. When a school room is characterized by order, simplicity and beauty which meets the needs of the child, success is more likely and enjoyment of the classroom inevitably leads to an enjoyment of learning. The child who is wrapped in beauty and order where she learns will have pleasant positive associations with the learning experience, and love of learning will become part of her character. The new discoveries underline the school design revolution. Beyond question, human infants and children learn more rapidly in stimulating and varied physical environments which meet basic human needs says Anne Taylor PH.D., professor at the school of Architecture and planning at the University of New Mexico.
Teacher: Carpets a very important part of creating attractive environment for children. We find that children behave much better if their surroundings are attractive - geared to the age of the children - and are appropriate for the children. Carpet makes that possible.
Narrator: The idea that an attractive and stimulating environment makes better schools is not just some abstract theory. Real life experience supports this idea as demonstrated by a study conducted at the 1997 renovation of the Charles Young Hill Top academy in the District of Columbia. Before and after data were carefully collected relating improvements to the environment and academic performance. Before the restoration problems included mold and allergens, poor lighting, ventilation problems and an unattractive unwelcoming look to the schools interior. It is important to note that after the restoration which included carpet on the facilities floors indoor air quality was dramatically improved and bio pollutants were virtually eliminated from the school. What you may find most interesting is that academic performance was dramatically impacted by these changes. For example, the rate at which students tested below basic levels was cut in half from 49% to 24%, and reading had almost as dramatic change with below basic skills falling from 49% to 25%. And the above basic skills results showed a 50% increase in Math and nearly that in Reading. We will provide you with the web address that documents these changes at the end of the video. Loraine E Maxwell, an Environmental Psychologist at Cornell University who specializes in the effect of noise on learning, is an advocate for carpet. She cites negative, psychological, motivational, cognitive effects as well as potential physical damage from excessive sound levels in children’s environments. She has written that excessive noise can have especially detrimental effects on younger children when language and discrimination skills are forming, and her work details the benefits of undeniably quieter environments that include carpet, pillows, and curtains.
Second Teacher: It is important in a classroom to have as little noise as possible. Now obviously, you can’t get rid of all of it, but the less distraction that you have the more likely the child is going to be able to focus on the task at hand. Carpet provides a very quiet environment in the classroom; it helps the teacher in keeping down the noise level.
Teacher: But the noise level is still high in those schools that don’t have carpet in the halls. We have visited schools that don’t have carpet and as quiet as the children are it can still be distracting for children in the classrooms if doors are open.
Second Teacher: Third graders are very physically animated - they are all over the place. I don’t care what kind of control you have in the classroom, all it takes is snow beginning to fall outside or the excitement of the weekend coming. Some things are going to happen. Children fall, children get scrapes and bruises, but having carpet on the floor, maybe a fall isn’t as bad as it normally would be.
Narrator: Some people think that carpet collects dirt - this is true. Unlike hard surface flooring which can reintroduce dirt into a room’s breathing space, carpet captures it and vacuuming extracts the dirt and allows it to be easily removed. Regularly-vacuumed carpet is proven to aid in better indoor air quality. The concept of clean and dry is the simple starting point in good carpet care, but we have more resources for the professionals who keep your school environment clean and functioning at optimal levels. The multi-step maintenance plan outlined by CRI and approved by all major carpet manufacturers provides a model for floor care that maximizes the environmental benefits of carpet. Dirt is contained by mats located at entryways and other areas of heavy traffic. These mats reduce the inflow of outside contaminants. Regular scheduled vacuuming with a CRI Seal of Approval machine removes contaminants. Spot and spill response teams deal with localized problems, deeper regular interval professional cleaning preserves the look and feel of carpet and prevents the long term build up of dirt. Each of these sanitation methods extracts biological elements from the floor and removes them from the indoor environment. At CRI we know that when objectively analyzed carpet is an outstanding floor covering for school environments, but we also want you to know that it isn’t just our opinion. We’ve told you about experts from around the country who understand the contribution carpet makes to a high performance educational environment. We hope the links we’ve provided will be a resource for assessing carpets appropriateness for your facility and introduce you to some other resources that may help you create an optimal learning environment for the students at your school. Gay Elliot worked for one of the Nations leading school architectural firms when she said, “If you were to ask me the most important thing in a class room apart from a good teacher I’d say carpet.”
Thanks for watching.
And, thanks for reading, too!