Image Source: VMDO Architects/Tom Daly Photography

Image Source: VMDO Architects/Tom Daly Photography

8 Ideas Making Schools Better for Kids

The main focus in American classrooms has been rigorous testing to meet academic standards.  Recently however, some U.S. schools have been experimenting with ways to improve the health of students while better preparing them to lead successful lives. The article lists eight feasible ways to accomplish these goals, such as starting school later, making recess mandatory, and designing cafeterias that encourage healthy eating. One school in Buckingham County, Virginia set out to design a new school and promote better health by exploring how the architecture can affect the users. Watch this video to see the results. 

Image source:; 7/18/15

The Promise of Mindfulness Training for Teachers

The benefits of practicing mindfulness have been proven by its popularity. Professional athletes, tech executives, and medical professionals have adopted the method to reduce stress and improve general health and well-being. Mindfulness involves meditating and identifying emotional and patterns. Researchers are finding that these practices regulate attention and emotional processes, which can support teachers’ social-emotional competence and reduce teacher burnout. The promise of mindfulness training encourages teachers to recognize their ability to cope with difficult circumstances and to change their classrooms and schools for the better. For teachers interested in learning more and finding some training, here is a partial list of resources.


Image source: Amanda Lucier/MindShift; 8/25/15

When Educators Make Space For Play and Passion, Students Develop Purpose

Harvard education specialist, Tony Wagner, believes that traditional academic content should no longer be the main focus of school. Wagner has been an advocate for reinventing the educational system through the intentional focus on innovation. Wagner argues that kids need seven essential skills (listed in the article) in order to be successful learners and if we don’t foster these abilities in children, we will no longer create innovators driving growth. Watch his TED talk on the issue, titled “Play, Passion, Purpose”.

Education Update is a weekly blog post highlighting recent developments in the world of education. The linked articles and summaries are not endorsements, rather frame points of view to begin conversations about the state of education, trends, and how we as designers can play an active role in shaping schools.

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