Many schools treat their main entrance as a sequence of high-security checkpoints. As a result, the first impression experienced by students, parents, community members, and visitors is that of a cold, exclusionary institution. Considering the importance many schools place on community involvement, feelings of wellness, and inclusivity, a non-welcoming entry creates enormous barriers.
Instead of singularly focusing on security, schools can balance the need for secure entries with the need to establish a welcoming presence for students and the community alike. To achieve this, there are a few key elements: (1) a covered entry that serves as a weather refuge, (2) a signature element that symbolizes the essence of the school, (3) strategically placed administrative offices that are located to both serve as the first point of contact for visitors while also allowing administrators to monitor and engage with students, and (4) a designated, multipurpose space for community gatherings separated from student areas.
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- Educational Facilities for the Twenty-First Century: Research Analysis and Design Patterns
This academic article cites research suggesting that it's important to minimize abrupt transitions between home-like and institutional settings in order to reduce anxiety. See Section 13, "Home as a Temple for School."