Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Brain Gym isn't the only answer. Neither is pink.

It’s not just movement like Brain Gym® that helps kids learn.

According to researchers, using the right color in a kid’s bedroom or a classroom can definitely help kids learn. But sometimes . . .  well, read on.  Ya gotta laugh!

A few years ago the locker room for the visiting football team at the University of Iowa was painted pink. Coach Hayden Fry was hoping the color would lull that team into playing a less aggressive game.  Pretty soon everything in the locker room was done in shades of pink.  

Then campus feminists got wind of the color scheme and accused Fry of suggesting that the visiting team was “weak like a girl” and therefore female athletes were sissies.  

The ensuing broo-ha-ha finally ended up with a committee studying compliance with N.C.A.A. standards dealing with sex equity. The room is still pink.

I don’t suggest painting boy’s rooms in shades of pink—even though I certainly believe in equal treatment for girls and boys. But what should you as a parent or teacher do when you’re decorating?

Studies have shown that light blue is too calming for study areas and libraries. So no light blue classrooms. But light blue or lavender is a great color for a bedroom. Beige or white walls, on the other hand, help kids focus on their work and not on the walls.

And what about primary colors, especially red? Way too stimulating, except for gyms and hallways and toys for babies.  

As a teacher, you may not have a lot of control over the color of the walls in your room, but you can control what you put on the bulletin boards and cupboard doors.  A good rule of thumb is less to look at and what you do put up should emphasize neutral colors.

The National Clearing House for Educational Facilities has several articles about the effect of color on learning. Go to http://www.edfacilities.org/rl/color.cfm  

Other sites that offer learning strategies include http://www.braingymclasses.com and http://www.brainboostersforyourkids.com

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