The built environment of childhood institutional settings is frequently viewed as backdrop for social processes to take place. However, the affordances and constraints of the physical setting can profoundly shape the course of children’s development and emerging sense of self. In fact, it is often aspects of the built environment such as noise, crowding, lighting and layout that shape social interaction, behavior and sense of self. Given this, the theories and evidence supporting the relationship between the physical setting and children’s development of self-concept will be explored. Drawing upon psychological theories, education, and architecture, a framework is provided for conceptualizing how children’s evolving understanding of themselves as learners, participants and agents within their world is influenced by their physical surroundings. In order to fully illustrate these concepts a case study of how classroom design can influence sense of self is provided.

Published in: London International Conference on Education (LICE-2016)

  • Date of Conference: 14-17 November 2016
  • DOI: 10.2053/LICE.2016.0055
  • ISBN: 978-1-908320-76-6
  • Conference Location: Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel, UK