Perspectives of school planners and architects and professional educators regarding elementary school facility design characteristics
McMichael, Christopher Alan
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The purpose of this study was to collect and examine the perspectives of elementary school facility planners and architects, elementary school teachers, school district superintendents, and elementary school administrators regarding three progressively specific sets of school facility design characteristics and their influence on elementary education. These design characteristics included: six general design principles produced by the US Department of Education, 33 previously published broad education design principles, and 86 specific complementary design characteristics found in the Design Assessment Scale – Elementary (DASE) produced by the University of Georgia’s School Design and Planning Laboratory. An electronic questionnaire, Perspectives of School Planners and Architects and Professional Educators Regarding Elementary School Facility Design Characteristics, was designed and distributed to educational professionals and elementary school facility planners and architects across the United States to gather information regarding their perspectives related to the three designated sets of design characteristics. By reporting where differences in perception exist among educators, planners and architects concerning the importance of school design characteristics, as well as their magnitude, the results of this study are expected to be helpful in underscoring and conveying the importance of the school environment. This will be of value to those that plan, develop, and use the learning environment. The analysis of the collected survey data indicated that there were statistical agreements among the four designated respondent groups regarding many of the selected categories of design principles. However, seven categories in which the perspectives of these four groups of professionals differed significantly were identified. These categories were: (a) involving stakeholders in the design process; (b) providing adequate health, safety, and security; (c) making effective use of all available resources; (d) employing specific design principles for primary education spaces; (e) recognizing the need for public areas; (f) understanding the importance of movement patterns; and (g) designing instructional neighborhoods.
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