Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Conscious Choices: Environmental Elements - Math Young Explorers

Did you know that aesthetic elements such as wall colors, murals and art pieces can help nurture children’s learning and development?  That was an important part of the plan as the
Lazure-inspired murals were added to the Young Explorers Neighborhoods at DCM. 

The Power of Color and Pattern
Peter Crabbe, Director of Exhibits, explains that DCM adapted Lazure murals to the Museum’s environment. They were chosen for the Young Explorers areas because of their softer edges and colors, which are believed to soothe young children, ease transitions and stimulate minds. He mentions, “We have a whimsical palette already and didn’t want to lose that. However, we wanted it a bit softer." Crabbe describes each of the murals as being visually stimulating, but not overwhelming to the senses.

Color and patterns provide visual stimulation for infants, similar to that of a mobile above a child's crib. According to the report Color in an Optimum Learning Environment, some scholars suggest that color in the learning environment provides an unthreatening environment that improves visual processing, reduces stress and challenges brain development through visual stimulation/relationships and pattern seeking (Daggett, Cobble and Gertel, 2008). The report also states that color and patterns can "rewire the brain" and make stronger connections while fostering visual thinking, problem solving and creativity.

In addition to the ability to appease and rejuvenate infants and toddlers without overstimulation, the murals also directly relate to Young Explorers themes. Both the Creativity Connections Young Explorers and Math Young Explorers murals integrate math and the arts by featuring appropriate shapes and patterns. The Build It Young Explorers mural relates more to structures, featuring lines and stripes.

Look for more on Lazure, Enhancing the Museum Experience in our next post!

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