Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Carpet Goes Back to School

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It's that time of year again. Back to school. For carpet and kids.

Children all over are loading up their backpacks with number two pencils and spiral-bound notebooks and heading back to school. They're excited about the prospect of a new experience and possibly anguished at the thought of leaving summer behind.

Ah, to be in school again.

But, did you know that carpet can play a role in a child's academic career? A child's success in school has to do not only with his or her academic performance but the learning environment as well. And carpet improves the learning environment.

The A to Z of Building reported the following: "In many U.S. classrooms, the speech intelligibility rating is 75 percent or even less, according to the Technical Committee on Architectural Acoustics of the Acoustical Society of America. That means that listeners with normal hearing can understand only 75 percent of the words read from a list. Statistics like this are helping put acoustics in educational settings toward the top of the list for design and construction considerations. A major component of a comprehensive noise management program is the flooring."

A to Z goes on to state that a study by the American Society of Interior Designers found that carpet is 10 times more efficient in reducing noise than other flooring options. Basically, because carpet reduces noise levels, children can hear and concentrate better in the classroom, improving their ability to focus and learn.

A report by the Carpet and Rug Institute confirms this. It suggests that schools should include carpet in classrooms because it reduces noise, provides cushion and protection, adds warmth and comfort, and improves indoor air quality.

Image above from
A CRI white paper by Dr. Michael A. Berry from 2002 provides a case study involving Charles Young Hill Top Academy in the District of Columbia, an aging city school that was rehabbed, saving the school to the benefit of the students in the community.

"Effective restoration is achieved through good design that addresses total environmental quality to include general sanitation, good air quality, noise control, lighting and glare reduction, soothing color, and general comfort provided by temperature and climate. The healthy school environment is kept in a steady state only with a thoughtfully organized cleaning and maintenance program."

The report also states information from the State of California, School Sound Level Study, School Facilities and Transportation Division, California State Department of Education, 1998:

"An ability to communicate between student and teacher is possible only with good sound control at range been 58 and 65 db. At these levels normal speech can be easily heard throughout the school building. Beyond 67db, distraction occurs. This research shows that without carpet, effective sound control in open space classrooms is virtually impossible to achieve."

I had no idea carpet played such a huge role in an effectively designed classroom.

But carpet's benefits don't end there. Carpet can also be used as a learning tool. Check out This company manufactures carpets for all types of educational play carpets, from hop-scotch carpets to giant carpet maps. And how many kindergarten classrooms don't have a central carpet used for calendar time, counting time and the letter of the day?

The next time you think carpet is just for looks, remember that it can provide significant benefits for schools as well.

Related post: A Foot's Perspective - Episode 4.

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Tech Teacher said...

I have been searching fruitlessly for an area rug showing the computer keyboard- preferably with color-coded keys for Home Row, etc.

Can anyone help me out?


CB Whittemore said...

tech teacher, I haven't yet seen what you are referring to, but I will keep my eyes open.

Thanks for visiting.

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