The Garlick Press: Plants in the classroom

The health benefits of adding more greenery in the learning environment

By Kira Garlick

It is another day in the classroom, and I’m finding myself gazing through the window, only half-listening to the lesson I should be paying attention to. Why can’t we have class outside? I have thought about this many times, though the class doesn’t necessarily leave the room to get a good fill of nature.

Introducing classroom plants, a fresh new way to engage students as they learn.

It has been proven that nature improves one’s well being, mentally and emotionally. According to Healthline, plants indoors can help to decrease stress, anxiety and depression and instead work to boost one’s sense of stability and positive calm energy.

A fresh new way to look at learning may be through nature; or better yet, with nature accompanying the student. Plants have been proven to enhance the wellbeing of individuals, both mentally and emotionally. Now it is time to introduce foliage among the future generations in our classrooms.

According to researchers from a study from the American Society for Horticultural Science, the presence of houseplants causes improved productivity for individuals, including reduced stress levels, less eye irritation and an increase in motivation and concentration.

Now this element should be taken inside schools to help eliminate the more depressing days and uplift students as they learn.

Our campus currently consists of cinder blocks and asphalt, with trees in the quad as the only greenery standing.

In a study by the American Society for Horticultural Science from the University of Technology in Sydney observed the influence of houseplants in a middle school learning environment. It was found the classrooms with plants improved testing in spelling and mathematics within a 10-14 percent range.

So plants can help students with their academics? Now we’re talking.

It would be easy to incorporate these plants into classrooms on a small budget. Most houseplants range from around $10 to $100, and the cheapest house plants have a range of $5 -45, with the ability to buy Mother in Law’s Tongue, the Money Plant and Areca Palm, according to WiseBread.

Having more greenery around students while they work would also be a breath of fresh air.

Not only do plants indoors filter out negative energy, so to speak, they also clean the air. Air pollutants such as formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, ammonia and benzene are all removed from the air by common house plants, according to a study conducted by NASA in 1989.

These pollutants are released by plastics and and inks, which plenty exist in the learning environment. For the betterment of the student’s health, addressing these toxins with a plant or two would improve the cleanliness and breathability of stuffy classroom atmosphere.

Finally, a breath of fresh air. Plants can help students improve their academics and wellbeing, all the while brightening up the classroom.