Super Session: Welcome to your School: The Application of Environmental Psychology to K-12 School Planning and Design


VIDEOS of presentations Available

  • AIA CEU: 1.0 LU HSW


The Supersession will be using the Poll Everywhere software to include participants in the session.  There will be limited connection via texting, so we highly encourage everyone to either download the app from their apple or android store, or use a web browser on their personal device to get the full experience.  Connection instructions to the Poll Everywhere session will be given at the start of the session; only those that want to use the app need to do anything beforehand (download that app).

How to join polls:

Instructions for web:  Go to / Enter A4LEWA459 / Respond to Poll Activity

Instructions for Apple or Android App:  Open the ap (pre-downloaded) / Enter A4LEWA459 / Respond to Poll Activity

Instructions for Text:  Number 22333 / Text A4LEWA459 to number to connect / Respond to Poll Activity

“Welcome to your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives” has been one of the most influential architectural publications in recent years. This session will present a brief history of the psychology of the architecture of learning, contrasting mid-20th century behaviorism with environmental psychology. We will use author Sarah Williams Goldhagen’s observations as a launch point to explore and apply principles of environmental psychology to the effectiveness of K12 learning environments. Particularly, we will explore the following three themes in Ms. Goldhagen’s book: 1. Social, Emotional and Cognitive Consonance 2. Action Settings 3. Understanding a Vernacular through Shapes, Materials and Textures Attendees will participate in a series of exercises to research and report on these topics. There will be opportunities to continue the conversation beyond the seminar and the conference.

Learning Objectives

OBJ#1  As environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings, participants will gain insight into how the natural and built school environments we create shape the development of our students.

OBJ#2  Participants will be able to identify the role school design plays in developing social, cognitive, emotional consonance.

OBJ#3  Participants will be able to understand how shaping space and surfaces can address security and life safety while engaging students’ imagination.

OBJ#4  Participants will understand the impact enigmatic aesthetic qualities such as beauty, wellness, and meaning have on student achievement and cognitive understanding. 

Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Writer and Critic; Contributing Editor, Architectural Record; Contributing Editor, Art in America,

Brian Carter, ALEP, Principal, Integrus Architecture

Scott Alterator, PhD., PhD, University of Melbourne / IDE (Innovation = Design + Education)

Margaret Parsons, AIA, ALEP, LEED AP BD+C, Principal Architect, Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.

Edward Peters, ALEP, Capital Projects Director, Edmonds School District