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Hiding Stress: A Good Idea (05-02-14)

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Technische Universität Dresden have studied stress and reached the conclusion that “stress is contagious.”  They learned that “Observing another person in a stressful situation can be enough to make our own bodies release the stress hormone cortisol. . . .

Designing Playgrounds for Physical Activity (03-18-14)

Creating playgrounds that encourage physical activity is one way to help keep young people from becoming obese.  At one test site, adding movable/recycled materials to a schoolyard increased the physical activity levels of children 5 to 12 over the course of a school year relative to students at another, comparable school where movable/recycled materials weren’t placed in schoolyards for the youngsters to play with during class breaks.  The movable/recycled materials added “included milk crates, swimming noodles, buckets, cardboard boxes, tyre tubes, pipes, vacuum hoses, plastic w

More Evidence Greening Schoolyards a Good Idea (03-07-14)

Previous research has shown that educational advantages accrue when vegetation is visible through school windows (for example, see Designing for Play).  Kelz and her colleagues “investigated the influence of a redesign (greening) of a [middle school] schoolyard on pupils’ [average age 14.4 years] physiological stress, psychological well-being, and executive functioning.” Research was conducted at three schools in rural Austria and “The renovated schoolyard significantly diminished pupils’ physiolog

Classrooms with a View

Can classroom window views improve grades, or do they just make students feel better?