The scientific studies conducted recently in the world show that color influences emotions, productivity and learning. Everything we see around us has a color. Colors are an integral part of our lives.
Colors unavoidably affect our attention and motivation to work due to their impact on our emotions. The studies clearly demonstrate the connection between positive/negative feelings and colors. Also, the way colors are used is directly linked to the intended purpose of a room. Choice of color depends on whether the room in question is intended for peace and quiet, noisy activities or concentration.
There is a connection between color and the brain development of children. For this reason, it is necessary to use colors in support of attention and learning in schools, not only for decorative purposes.
Psychological reactions to color could alter attention and mood. For example, pink has been shown to reduce aggressive behavior. (Walker, 1991)
According to Mahnke (1996) some colors are appropriate for protecting eyesight and supporting the work environment, as well as physical and mental health.
Colors used in schools must be functional. In other words, their use must be with the expectation of instigating a change. That is to say, positive results must be observed in extending the attention span of the children as well as in reducing the strain on their eyes and slowing down their reactions.
For example, using dull colors that won’t strain the eyes on the side and end walls in classrooms is important in ensuring that children can rest their eyes as they turn their heads in the process of studying or doing their homework.
Classrooms could be used for multiple purposes, but the primary goal is to ensure that the children learn what they are taught. For this reason a classroom must help maximize the receipt and retaining of information as well as inducing participation at the same time. The way to do this is not to expose the children to too many stimuli. A combination of too many bright colors such as red, yellow and orange would be too much stimulation. Calmness, comfort, happiness and contentment are associated with colors like blue and green.
If the furniture in the classroom is colorful, then the walls must be fashioned in neutral or calming colors. Other than kindergartens, there are not many choices where school furniture is concerned. For this reason a bright and exciting color like yellow can be singularly used in an item. This will not be too straining like a wall painted in a bright color would be after some time.
Using a little red and yellow is helpful in drawing the children’s attention to details. If the desks, chairs, and tables used are not in bright and energetic colors, then instead of using an energetic color on the walls, the materials hanging on the walls can be in bright colors; the walls must again be in comforting shades of green, blue and beige.
Preschool children are energetic and animated and they like bright colors. However, due to the fact that the materials hung on the walls in kindergartens are in bright colors, along with the desks and chairs, it is necessary to choose the wall colors from softer shades of warm colors. To the extent that, if the different areas in the room are used for different purposes, the furniture and wall colors can be chosen accordingly. For example, a corner in calm, comforting colors with shades to stimulate attention can be created for reading time.
Single color, monotonous environments can have a negative effect on children. In a study conducted with gorillas, it was observed that the ones kept in an area surrounded by straight white walls became introverted and stopped communicating. Similar studies show that the same holds true for human beings too. Being introverted could lead to anxiety, fear as well as feelings of frustration and unrest arising from lack of stimulus. These feelings could cause a deterioration in attention and concentration as well as irritation.
Children start recognizing and matching colors around the age of 2.5 to 3. Separating and emphasizing some areas belonging to children in school or school grounds by using colors or painting similar areas in similar colors will help develop the color recognition skills of the children as well as their skills in finding direction and recognizing space according to colors. Colors can be used to set up a system in the sections where the graphics, responsibility tables or lockers are located in elementary schools.
Eye strain shows itself in continuous blinking of the eyes as well as the enlargement of the irises when the light and color intensity is static. This leads to a reduction in the capability to focus on objects and difficulties in differentiating between small objects. Choosing to paint the opposite or side walls of a classroom in comforting colors will comfort strained eyes. The purpose here is to ensure that the eyes of the children are comforted when they raise their heads from the work they are doing, so that they can again become capable of focusing their attentions. Studies show that the walls the children mainly stare at must be in colors that are not dark. On the other hand, when the walls that they have less eye contact with are painted in darker colors, the monotony will be broken and the students will be stimulated.
This method that stimulates the brain and helps students benefit from lessons more effectively, is valid for teachers as well. Protecting the health of the eyes and minds of teachers is directly related to the development of the attention and learning skills of the students. The passive stimulus transmitted by color will ensure that both students and teachers have efficient and effective class hours. A study conducted by Harry Wohlfarth in 4 elementary schools in the year 1983 validated this opinion. It has been shown that rendering of color and light suitable for education in the schools studied altered the rates of academic performance and intelligence.