Physical and psychosocial factors in classroom design for elementary level schools

Rehab Aburas, Kristi S. Gaines, Su Jeong Hwang Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are different factors impacting classroom design, including physical factors such as furniture arrangement, indoor air quality, lighting, materials, finishes, and sound. Also, psychosocial factors such as personal space, crowding, privacy, and territoriality have an influence on the learning spaces (Kopec, 2006). The growth in technology, social networks, and media, as well as different teaching and learning methods require dynamic teaching spaces, which are changing the way we design classrooms. Kuuskorpi, Kaarina, Finland, and González (2011) found that students' perceived the traditional classroom as a passive area, which slowed down the full use of space. These changes in the students' needs require the classroom environment to be modified. Therefore, the present report examines the effects of the physical and psychosocial factors in designing elementary classrooms. Based on the recommendations and guidelines from the literature review, the report suggests a prototype for elementary classrooms. The new design provides a flexible multi-purpose environment that can be used for a variety of learning activities, such as collaboration and workshops. In recent years, there were significant social and cultural changes caused by the unique advances in communication and information technologies, as well as the introduction of the Internet to the school environment. These factors have changed the shape of how we teach and have created shifts in the learner's expectations of the physical learning environment (Kuuskorpi et al., 2011). It will be beneficial to provide educational planners and designers with updated guidelines to create the proper environment for a variety of students' and instructors' needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-35
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Early Childhood Learning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Classroom design
  • Elementary level
  • Factors
  • Physical
  • Psychosocial


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