Monday, October 27, 2008

Hello Obvious

I stumbled upon this article today in the NYTimes about how walking in nature helps raise ADD children's scores.

I taught once in a school building that was built in the '50s (that is just my guess, based on barely remembered color schemes, and postwar architecture) when the prevailing wisdom dictated that windows were bad (a tragedy, because is school was situated in the golden, rolling, oak studded foothills of Northern California). The rooms were like big boxes, with only a door. I felt something was wrong when I stepped in, but it wasn't until I was chatting with my boss about the room feeling claustrophobic when she pointed out to me that there were no windows.

That was the year I let the kids paint themselves black...
(ed note-- I did some digging on the internet and found a picture of the exterior of the school-with-no-windows. This is the actual building. The foyer is totally glassed, but the classes don't have any windows.)


jessica said...

no windows? isn't that surprising surprising for a post-war building? or maybe not outside the UK. those post war'rs were supposed to be socially switched on. there were whole studies about where was best to place windows (so there was less distraction from outside), but there were always windows. there's a great book on post-war school building in England by Andrew Saint called 'Towards a Social Architecture,' though perhaps a bit of an anorak book. i'm shocked by a classroom with no windows, and more shocked that this is still being used and not as a closet. the kids wanting to paint themselves black seems like a mild response.

H said...

I would love to take my ADHD client outdoors, but I'm afraid he'd run for the hills or climb the roof to show me how the water marks on the blacktop look like topo maps, or, or, or. We "practice" doing things in slow motion, but I have to emphasize that I would like him to practice doing things in "Heather Slow Motion."
I would've probably been a boring child, who would get a lot of homework done in a school without windows.

Camille said...

Hey Jessica, sorry about the vagueness with the building description. I was actually thinking of you when I wrote "postwar," all I meant was that it was for sure not built before 1949.

Hey Heather, studies show that ADHD people do well after a short walk in greenery. I am sure you could hold his hand.

H said...

Yep-- yesterday we spent the first 10 mins of the session wandering back and forth across the campus, trying to find someone with a master key to open the office door. Maybe I should plan these mishaps with him each week-- he was a bit calmer.

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