Health Benefits of Plants in the Classroom

Plants in the classroom look pretty. They brighten up the room. During the cold, dark, winter months, plants cheer-up teachers and students. Plants, in classrooms, offer more than attractiveness. Research proves that house plants have many health and psychological benefits.

I. Removing toxins from the air

In the last twenty years, researchers have studied the impact of houseplants on the workplace, home, and most recently, in the classrooms.

Derek Clements-Croome, a professor at Reading College, measured carbon dioxide levels in London’s poorly ventilated, and overcrowded classrooms. He discovered that carbon dioxide exceeded the recommended amount levels by 500%! He found that carbon dioxide had a negative effect on concentration and stunted students’ personal development.

As a result, more researchers studied the effects of carbon dioxide on students. They placed houseplants around the school classrooms. They found that plants purified the air and students received higher grades and better concentration.

The plants listed for air purification are nontoxic for children. Young children tend to “explore” plants and get sick, if they ingest it. The common name is first, and the scientific name is in parentheses.

* Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema sp.): This plant is shade tolerant. It thrives in a classroom setting. It has dark green leaves, or variegated leaves.

* Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum): It needs indirect light. This is a topnotch air purifier. It removes formaldehyde from the air.

* Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) It needs partial shade. This plant is extremely hardy. It can take some neglect with out dying. It has beautiful, fragrant flowers. It not only purifies the air, but smells terrific.

* If your classroom has light (or you can use grow lights), the flowering plants will cheer-up your room.  The Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera sp.) is a flowering plant. It efficiently removes the carcinogen, benzene, from the air. 

II. Physical and Mental Health

1. Indoor plants increase humidity and hold down the dust. It relieves sore throats and coughs up to 30%.

2. Plants lessen stress in the classroom and help students stay on task for longer periods of time.

The Royal College of Agriculture, Cirencester, UK, after research, found that attentiveness increases up to 70% when plants are in the classroom. They compared students taught in classrooms with plants, to students in non plant classrooms. The students, in plant classrooms, showed more attentiveness. The researchers discovered that plants prevented distractions by 70%.

In America, at Washington State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, studied two similar groups of students working in a windowless computer room. One group with plants and the other without. Both groups used the same computer program. Pre-task the groups were first given blood pressure and pulse rates. Post-task, researchers took the students blood pressures and pulse rates. The findings showed that the group with plants had 12% quicker response time. This demonstrated that productivity was greater with plants in the room. Blood pressure and pulse rates returned to normal quicker in the plant group.

Studies show that plants reduce noise. The best noise abatement plants have large leaves. In urban areas, the cities use plants to cut down noise levels from cars to businesses and urban housing. In the classroom, it cuts down noise in the classroom – chairs scooting on the floor, children talking, and pencil sharpeners grinding.

Edible plants are useful in the classroom. Students study plants for science. For example, tomatoes can be grown indoors with either light from outside or a grow light. Explanation of pollination and the role of pollination is a lesson explaining the importance of insects for plant life. In order to grow tomatoes in the classroom, students need a pollination spray. It helps the children to try new things and enrich their diet. Other edible plants that grow indoors are the following..

Pineapple Guava produces edible flowers and fruit.

Dwarf Cavendish is a small banana tree that produces small, edible bananas.

Herbs are perfect to grow in the classroom.

There are so many uses for plants in the classroom. Plants provide many useful things for the environment, education and peace of mind.