Safety issues of children age 3-5 years in school classrooms: a perspective of classrooms in the United States
Interior design is an established industry in the United States with its profits well known to be a good contribution to the national economic growth. Some effort has been made by U.S. Design Council to make sure that the interior design of buildings promotes good health and comfort. Questions have been raised about the safety of U.S. classrooms meant for elementary-level children, specifically those under than 5 years of age. This formed the basis of this research, which unraveled the separate interior design elements of elementary classrooms and their effects on pupils' learning and health. Data were collected through secondary methods from various documentary materials that shed light on the interior design of classrooms and their effects on pupils' development and learning capabilities. Data were then analyzed through an interpretive and comparative procedure of key variables such as classroom threats and learning achievements.
The findings showed that pupils in U.S. school classrooms face mainly seven kinds of classroom threats--thermal, chemical, mechanical, organic, electrical, physiological, and emotional threats--in varying degrees depending on the students' gender and location. Generally, female pupils were found to be more greatly affected by thermal, emotional, and physiological threats than were their male counterparts in academic achievement. That is because, unlike females, male pupils tend to adapt quickly to classroom threats such as feeling extremely hot, fatigued or dizzy. Additionally, it was found that all pupils face multiple health challenges when exposed to the various above-mentioned threats in their classrooms.
With many U.S. schools requiring the use of pesticides, and the environment having been polluted through industrial processes, many children have been exposed to additional chemical threats, leading to death due to diseases of the respiratory system, such as asthma and pneumonia, as well as other ailments such as skin cancer, brain cancer and retarded growth, to name just a few. It was recommended that schools, the state and parents work together for a safe learning environment for children 3-5 years of age. The study also recommended that interior designers should observe professional standards to reduce the prevalence of mechanical, chemical, electrical, organic and thermal threats, which were also some of the causes of emotional and physiological disturbance among pupils.