Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction


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Shell, S. (2015). Effect of the physical environment on teacher satisfaction with indoor environmental quality in early learning schools (Master's thesis). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.unl.edu.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architectural Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Lily M. Wang. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Stuart Shell


While the quantity and quality of teacher-child interactions plays a key role in emotional and cognitive development for children, there is scant evidence regarding the contribution of physical environment to child outcomes. This study seeks to understand better the relative importance of variables within the physical environment for occupants. The research design targets teachers’ satisfaction with the physical environment as the outcome variable, based on the assumption that teachers who are more satisfied with their classroom provide higher-quality interactions with children. Teachers from two early learning schools with a total of 31 classrooms completed a written survey that asked about lighting, acoustics, air quality, job satisfaction and overall satisfaction with the space. The predictor variables are measurements from each sensory domain including illuminance, particulate matter, carbon dioxide and sound pressure level. Results suggest that background noise, lighting and floor area are good predictors of teacher satisfaction. Teachers’ perceptions of various sensory domains are related. Organizational satisfaction mediates satisfaction with some features of the physical environment. Discussion includes implications for early learning programs and the design and renovation of classroom spaces.

Advisor: Lily M. Wang