Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
School Indoor Air Quality Matters To Your Child's Learning Experience
Your child’s early learning years are crucial to their overall development. That’s why we, as parents, put so much effort into giving them a healthy learning experience!
And whether we’ve decided to homeschool or enrol them in a local public/private school, we know they’ll be in excellent hands.
But while focusing on successful education, we’ve forgotten about one important factor:
A healthy learning environment!
Creating a healthy learning environment at home or school hugely impacts your child’s academic experience.
So let’s set our children up for success this school year! Let's design a learning environment specifically with their health and academic success in mind.
In this article, learn how poor indoor air quality affects your child’s focus, performance and learning experience. As well as their health and wellbeing!
Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect Concentration?
Concentration is one of the most important contributors to a child’s learning success. It helps them receive, understand and remember information more effectively.
In fact, it can also help boost their productivity!
Concentration is a skill that gives students the ability to focus their energy on the task at hand - avoiding potential distractions. Learning this skill early on is helpful in all areas of a student's life - including further education, work, relationships etc.
But did you know that certain poor indoor air quality factors can actually hinder your child’s ability to concentrate?
Two such factors include:
a) High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), and
b) Ineffective temperature control.
High Levels of CO2
CO2 is a gas that we naturally Exhale.
But if Inhaled, CO2 levels in our blood can begin to rise - lowering the amount of oxygen our brain receives.
Insufficient oxygen can cause headaches, sleepiness, sweating and increased anxiety.
And from a cognitive perspective, insufficient oxygen can also lower our concentration and dampen our mood.
How do CO2 levels get so high in a school?
Overcrowded, poorly ventilated classrooms.
Ineffective Temperature Control
Southern Ontario experienced some intense heat waves this past summer. With temperatures reaching above 30 degrees Celsius!
During these extra hot days, people did their best to stay indoors with their air conditioning turned up high. They were also encouraged to find shade outdoors and, of course, drink tons of water.
These practices helped prevent our bodies from overheating, causing:
- Nausea etc.
Besides these physical effects of an unrelenting heat wave, there are cognitive effects to consider too!
Hot and stuffy learning environments are distracting and uncomfortable to work in. Even the simplest of tasks can be very difficult when temperatures are high.
So what if your home or school’s air conditioning doesn’t work?
This can affect students’ health and their ability to concentrate and learn effectively.
Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect Academic Performance?
A child’s academic performance relies on several interconnected factors. But one of the most important of those is the air quality of their learning environment.
Healthy indoor air quality helps students think more clearly. But beyond that, it can also encourage effective engagement - allowing the student to better apply themselves to their lessons.
A recent study on the connection between classroom ventilation and academic achievement suggests that:
“Increasing the ventilation rates toward recommended guideline ventilation rates in classrooms should translate into improved academic achievement of students.”
In this study, scientists found a direct, linear relationship between,
- Classroom ventilation rate and
- Students’ academic achievement (within the range of 0.9-7.1 l/s per person).
For every unit increase in ventilation (1 l/s per person), scientists expect the number of students passing standardized testing to increase! Specifically, they expect a 2.9% increase in students for math and 2.7% for reading.
We mentioned the distracting health effects of high CO2 levels above. But that's not the only factor you should be aware of when considering poor air quality.
Did you know that one of the top causes of school absenteeism is asthma?
Both asthma and allergies make learning incredibly difficult! With eye irritation, fatigue, headaches, coughing..etc., staying focused and engaged is next to impossible.
What are some of the allergy/asthma sources in a school environment?
- Dust mites
- Diesel exhaust from school buses
- Classroom pets
Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect Learning Experience?
At this point, you can probably draw your own conclusion about the learning experience when paired with poor indoor air quality.
Student absences may increase.
Academic performance may decline.
Even the dynamic of the classroom itself becomes unhealthy.
And it doesn’t just affect the students!
School teachers and staff are huge contributors to the health of our children’s learning environment.
When poor indoor air quality disrupts a teacher, the whole classroom suffers - making learning difficult for everyone!
Effectively Boost Your Indoor At Quality At School and Home!
According to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, indoor air pollution is one of the top five public health environmental risks.
And it’s no wonder!
In Ontario, kids spend at least 5 hours a day learning in an indoor environment. And with 194 school days in Ontario, that’s 970 hours of their lives spent in a classroom!
Don’t let a single precious hour of learning go to waste. Discover 4 ways to help boost indoor air quality, whether at school or home, below!
Step 1: Increase Ventilation
Fresh air is one of the most important factors of a healthy learning environment.
After all, schools can get pretty stuffy. Especially with the number of children per classroom!
As mentioned above, increasing ventilation rates can help dilute harmful air pollutants - like CO2 and allergens.
And with reduced air pollution, students can experience improved focus, productivity and performance.
Step 2: Improve Temperature Control
Our bodies have an internal temperature regulator that helps ensure we don’t overheat or get too cold.
But while our bodies work overtime to raise or lower our inner temperature, our concentration and mood can start to decline.
Installing and maintaining a high-quality air conditioner and furnace can help!
See our selection of air conditioners and furnaces below at our sister company, Shipton’s Heating and Cooling!
Step 3: Invest in Humidity Control
High humidity is a huge contributing factor to respiratory and asthmatic health symptoms.
Warm, damp air is the perfect place for mould and mildew to grow - risking students’ health and the school’s structural integrity itself. After all, damp indoor air can point to many issues, including water damage.
Step 4: Schedule Regular HVAC Maintenance
Installing the right HVAC equipment is a great first step in improving your indoor air quality. But failing to maintain that equipment can put you right back to square one!
Over time, your HVAC equipment can become dirty - causing your system to become both inefficient and unproductive in the long run. Especially in regards to your indoor air quality!
Here are a few HVAC maintenance tips to keep in mind for healthier air:
Did you know that many contaminants (dust, pollen, animal dander, mould etc.) travel through your air ducts? With these pollutants circulating through each room, asthma/allergy symptoms can quickly increase!
While you don’t need an annual duct cleaning, your ducts must be routinely checked for dirt and grime. That way, you know you’re never spreading around unnecessary contaminants.
Regular Filter Changes
Don’t forget to change your air filters!
We recommend changing your filters at least every 90 days. More if you have pets or people with allergies/asthma.
HVAC Equipment Inspection/Cleaning
Our sister company, Shipton’s Heating and Cooling, offers preventative HVAC Maintenance appointments!
Trained HVAC professionals will clean, inspect, test and fix your equipment regularly. To ensure everything is working effectively!
Because Your Kids Deserve The Best Learning Environment!
Improving air quality can sound intimidating. But our Hamilton IAQ experts at Shipton’s CleanAir Solutions can help!