Forest View is Kibble’s latest primary years provision located in the heart of the Lochwinnoch community. In August 2019, we opened a therapeutic primary school within the grounds for up to 30 children, and this month sees the opening of Forest View Residential Houses.
The two individual houses, Ness and Tay, provide nurturing accommodation and support for children (aged 5-12) who have experienced trauma. The beautiful forest landscape with its acres of trees, rugged landscapes and wildlife provide a backdrop for this therapeutic, child-centred provision.
Kibble supports at risk children and young people (aged 5-26) across the UK. Many of the young people we care for have experienced significant trauma in their lives and Kibble offers dedicated care and support to help them move forward. This includes residential and community support, as well as dedicated schools and wellbeing services.
Our research showed that nature was a key element when implementing a therapeutic, trauma-informed environment. The forest setting in Lochwinnoch provided the perfect location as it would not only draw in the natural landscape but was in easy reach of the local village and community where the children could engage in local groups and activities.
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Our Clinical Director Dan Johnson explains how we have created a therapeutic and trauma-informed environment at Forest View.
Importance of Interiors
When creating Forest View, the interiors were a key component. Early in the design process we sought to create interiors that would draw the outdoors in, using elements of nature, space and light to support young people’s physical and mental health.
The term “trauma-informed design” is a concept that is beginning to gain momentum as architects and interior designers work to integrate the principles of trauma-informed care into their practices. It explores ideas for built environments that support the tenets of trauma-informed care.
We set a goal to create spaces that were welcoming, demonstrate a safe environment, and provide some degree of privacy. Recognising that the physical environment has an impact on attitude, mood, and behaviour, and that there is a strong link between our physiological state, our emotional state, and the physical environment.
How To Create A Trauma-Informed Environment?
To begin, an important factor to consider is the use of colour throughout the interior. Cool colours such as blue, green, purple are known to have a calming effect; lighter-coloured rooms are perceived as more open, less crowded and described as more “spatially available”, providing the feeling of a safer and more calming space. The avoidance of deeply hued warm colours including red, orange and yellow helps to discourage negative emotions.
The type of furniture available, as well as the layout, has an important role in creating a peaceful, calming environment. In conjunction with light-colours, an open space with clear sightlines and few barriers can further increase the sense of safety.
The arrangement of furniture needs to be considered as it will affect personal feelings related to the sense of safety, perceived crowdedness, and perceived relationship to staff members. For example, is a communitive or authoritative dynamic being encouraged? Seating should be arranged to increase socialisation, and by using natural materials and colours, we increase connection to nature and a develop sense of calm.
Rooms bright with natural light appear less crowded too.
At Forest View Primary School, the classrooms have floor to ceiling windows which double up as bi-folding doors to let the natural light sweep through. The classroom rocking chairs let pupils release any additional energy.
Plants, Flowers and Greenery
The use of plants can be decorative and recent research shows settings which include vegetation reduce stress, promote peace, tranquillity, enhanced self-esteem, and a sense of mastery of the environment.
The initial interior design plan for our entrance is filled with greenery and a welcoming sign. The décor is made of natural wood and oak, which complements the nature outside and conveys a warm welcome.
Art is an important element. It adds visual interest and can create a visual distraction that alleviates stress, improves mood, comfort and satisfaction.