Leicestershire school ditches bright furniture to improve behaviour

Overdale Infant School
Image caption A colour expert said the plain furniture could give pupils a "blank canvas"

A primary school has ditched bright plastic furniture and replaced it with plain wooden tables and chairs in a bid to help pupils focus.

Overdale Infant School in Knighton, Leicestershire, decided to make the change because pupils felt "overloaded" by bright, garish colours.

The school believes the new decor, which it describes as like "grandma's living room", will improve behaviour.

A colour expert said the furniture could give pupils a "blank canvas".

Headteacher Hayley Holmes said the school had trialled duller colours like brown and beige last year, and it had a positive impact on pupils' behaviour.

She said: "Children and adults have none of that sensory overload and can feel really calm here.

"Some of the children felt overloaded and found the classroom to be a really difficult place to be in.

"So we're reducing that sensory overload and we're encouraging the children and giving them time to develop."

Image caption Hayley Holmes said some pupils had found the classroom to be a difficult place to be in

Karen Haller, an expert of applied colour psychology, said colours were processed by the brain in the hypothalmus.

She added: "When we take in colour we have an emotional reaction.

"Colour that's stimulating - like red - turns the emotional dial up.

"When you put in colours that are low in saturation, you're turning the emotional dial down.

"You can have a more calming, more restful environment."

Conventional toys have also been ditched for objects like colanders, which the school hopes will help pupils develop role play.

One pupil said: "It just looks nice, and the things in it, all the stuff makes it look wonderful."

Image caption Old household objects like record music boxes, brushes and even colanders have replaced conventional toys in the classroom

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