The idea behind the SOS school project, the brainchild of Holzcluster Steiermark and various cluster partners, was to try to scientifically demonstrate the advantages of using timber within a classroom and its long-term benefits to students who study within them.
The project, which translates as School Without Stress, was successfully launched at a primary and secondary school in Haus im Ennstal. Floors, ceilings and walls of two chosen classrooms were entirely clad with wood. In addition, all pieces of furniture wre replaced with wooden furniture. For comparison, two other classrooms were equipped with conventional school interiors.
Both settings were tested for the period of one school year, using exactly defined processes and methods for both target groups – pupils and teachers.
The results, according to the researchers, were extremely encouraging. The wood interior definitely had a positive effect on the heart activity. The pupils were more relaxed at school, their hearts had to work less and they slept better.
Meanwhile, stress levels remained the same in pupils in the timber classroom but were elevated in pupils within the standard classroom, while concentration levels ere also higher in the timber classroom.
The study then, is proof of the efficacy of timber and its ability to help reduce stress levels and create healthy educational environments. Wood used in the construction of educational establishments can have long-term positive impact on the health of pupils – something that will reduce the risk of ‘burn out’ from both pupil and teacher.
TRADA & ITWT Magazine