Do bright colours create bright kids?

Colour psychologist Angela Wright reveals the impact of colour on education.

Do bright colours create bright kids?

How colour can affect your child’s education

Is classroom colour on your checklist for 2015? For the majority, I doubt that it is, but perhaps this article will make you change your mind.

Colour can help learning or hinder it. Science now tells us that colour impacts our emotions – and our emotions impact our learning.

Colour enters the eye and registers in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus – sometimes known as ‘the brain’s brain’. It regulates, among other things, sleep and behavioural patterns, appetite and body temperature, as well as the balance of the autonomic nervous system. In other words, colour creeps under the radar of the thinking brain.

In primary school, a child’s mechanism for processing colour is not yet fully developed. Strong, heavy or dark colours will tend to stress them. They need a balance between stimulus and ease so will fare best in rooms with warm pastel tones.

As academic challenges increase, blue encourages intellectual activity. Strong blues help focus and soft blues aid concentration. So blue would probably lend itself to study halls or those classrooms where core subjects are taught.

But blue won’t do when it comes to creativity. For the arts, yellow is the tone to aim for. It is the most memorable colour and, like sunshine, it lifts the mood. Yellow will make children feel upbeat, confident and optimistic – opening up their minds and helping to generate ideas.

However, where yellow and blue won’t help is in the sporting arena. There – as football clubs attest – red strips are energising. Red sets pulses racing. It’s the colour of risk and achievement.

School offers children a kaleidoscope of opportunity. With so many competing schools to choose from, parents need all the information they can accrue. So it is helpful to know that the use of colour can have an effect on their child’s experience and learning.

The most successful schools will be aware of the research so they will hopefully feel encouraged to match their colour schemes to their lessons and to reflect the intelligence of their approach in their marketing.

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