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Gryphon House Releases Room to Learn

Lewisville, N.C. – Gryphon House, Inc. announces Room to Learn: Elementary Classrooms Designed for Interactive Explorations, a practical guide to help early childhood educators, directors and administrators evaluate and improve learning environments using the valid and reliable Assessing the Pillars of the Physical Environment for Academic Learning (APPEAL) rating scale.

A 2015 report of 153 classrooms in 27 schools, totaling 3,766 elementary pupils, found classroom design can impact children’s learning rates by 16 percent. An earlier study, within the same report, with a smaller sample size found a 25 percent variance in learning rates.

“Classroom design and environments are often an afterthought, though the complex interaction of physical elements, ranging from sensory components to design and organization, are proven to work together to improve early learning, self-efficacy and higher-order thinking skills,” said Pamela Evanshen, EdD. “Dr. Janet Faulk and I developed APPEAL to help early learning professionals understand how learning environments can improve child outcomes.”

Filled with strategies and recommendations to evaluate and improve the design and use of elementary learning environments using the APPEAL rating scale, Room to Learn brings early childhood professionals a practical guide to:

  • Create student-centered, welcoming and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities
  • Encourage positive learning interactions through room arrangement
  • Facilitate discovery and active engagement through learning centers
  • Help children take ownership of their learning and collaborate in project-based learning and problem solving

Room to Learn is widely available starting October 1, 2019.


About the Authors

Pamela Evanshen, EdD, holds a doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy analysis and is chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN.

Janet Faulk, EdD, is an experienced administrator, serving as a supervisor of special education and as an elementary-school principal. She retired as an associate professor from Milligan College in Elizabethton, TN, where she taught courses in literacy and special education.

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