September 1, 2019

Healing Learning Environment Supports Student Self-Regulation

Karner Blue Education Center started with a clean slate and an aim to design a school unlike traditional elementary schools. Karner Blue provides education for students with autism, emotional and behavioral disorders, and cognitive disabilities. A “typical” elementary school would not support the success of Karner Blue’s students and staff. Design elements both big and small were thoughtfully considered to best serve the school’s population, reducing distractions, minimizing common sources of anxiety, increasing safety, and promoting tranquility.

In partnership with the University of Minnesota’s School of Architecture Consortium for Research Practices, BWBR investigated the ways in which the design of this education center impacts the unique student population. The research focused on studying how the physical environment and features aid students in the process of self-regulation and de-escalation when they are experiencing moments of emotional and behavioral distress.

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