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Margit Sjöroos

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Sensory friendly environments for schools

Stress Free Area ®

Helsinki, Finland
The concept helps create sensory friendly environments by removing unconsciously disrupting factors from schoolrooms. The concept is implementable for teaching facilities as well as teachers’ rooms.
Introduction

What is it all about?

Margit Sjöroos, concept designer
“The end result of sensory friendly design is multisensory ergonomics. Even stress factors that go unnoticed have been removed.”

Margit Sjöroos, concept designer

When we think about ergonomics, we often think about working postures and physical ergonomics. However, our environment has many sensory factors that can affect work negatively just the same as a poor working posture.

Excessive negative loads interfere with our concentration and our behavior. People are the subject of continuous sensory overload, and many of the stress-causing sensations go unnoticed. However, space planning often fails to include the senses and development history of our brains.

Sensory friendly design is at the heart of the Stress Free Area concept is. Both known and unconscious negative sensory stimuli, which can cause stress, are removed from the designed spaces.
 
Everything begins with sensitive and thoughtful design. Facilities can be designed to support alertness and activities with colors, shapes, plant elements, and by acoustics. Taking many senses into account has a cumulative effect: it is better to consider all aspects rather than just one in its entirety.

The end result is a sensory friendly environment that, like the ideal learning environment, enables focusing and communication, and builds a framework for creativity. When teaching facilities, or, for instance, a teachers’ room, are designed to support the intended function, the well-being of the entire school community is improved.

Sensory friendly design won’t need more resources than the usual design and implementation of learning environments - it only costs the effort. The solutions can usually be made with, for instance, color and furniture choices, and the renovation does not have to be expensive.

Sensory friendly design goes hand in hand with ecology, as sensory friendly spaces pass the test of time. In addition, when people feel better, they will have the motivation to maintain the facilities and make environmentally friendly solutions.

Margit Sjöroos has developed sensory friendly design and the Stress Free Area concept since 1996. The concept has been applied in offices, premises, major sporting events, as well as physical and digital learning environments.

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Innovation Overview
ALL
Target Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2002
Established
-
Organisation
583
Views
Tips for implementation
Depending on the scope of the innovation: the concept may be applied to only a small space or the whole school area. The cost is the same as for similar remodeling or renovation projects.
Connect with innovator
Margit Sjöroos
HundrED Review
Innovativeness

The innovation combines expertise in a number of disciplines with a long experience in space planning.

Impact

Stress factors that go unnoticed in the school environment diminish, which has a positive impact on well-being and working.

Scalability

Stress Free Area concept spaces can be created for the same cost as any other space remodeling or renovation project.

Media

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Milestones

Achievements & Awards

Map

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Contact
Begin by contacting Stress Free Area ®.
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02
Workshop
Once the initial decisions have been made, involve everyone using the space in adopting a new, sensory friendly approach.
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03
Interior design and space planning
During the design and planning phase, information from the workshops, the use of the space, the budget, and any available recycled elements (such as existing furniture) are taken into consideration.
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04
Implementation and taking the space into use
The time needed for implementation depends on the scope of the project.
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05
Additional elements
Sometimes, depending on the purpose of the space, additional elements are required.
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