a school that heals: rethinking the design of schools for children with special needs

The project is inspired by traumatic events which children face and affects their mental health as they grow, which affect their ability to learn and become productive members of society. When a traumatic experience activates a child’s stress-response system, it immediately cuts off the neural connections to the prefrontal cortex because it wants the body to react faster for survival. As a result, children in that fight, flight, or freeze survival state are less able to engage in problem-solving, rational thought, focused attention, self-regulation of their emotions or behaviour and less able to verbalize their experience. All these attributes are essential to learning and brain development. By tapping into design approaches of healthy facilities whose goal is to alleviate stress among the users, A school that heals explores the same design attitudes in a learning environment. Attributes such as sense of control, social support, positive distractions, wellness factors, and sense of coherence have improved stress levels in healthy care designs, hence their exploration in a learning environment.

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francis ngwira