Impact of Biophilic Design on Supporting Metacognitive Thinking in Early Childhood in Childcare Centers A Multidisciplinary Study

Liza Edward (1), Shaimaa Mohamed Kamel (2), Laila Mohamed Khodeir (3)
(1) Master's Degree Student, Architecture Department, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Egypt, Egypt,
(2) Professor, Architecture Department, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Egypt, Egypt,
(3) Professor, Architecture department, Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Egypt, Egypt


It is widely known how modern life from activities, games, and technologies has consumed children’s lives and attention, distracting them from the natural environment and its benefits. Moreover, although childcare centers are nowadays considered one of the primary environments where children spend most of their time, a child-nature connection is not much considered in their designs, giving more attention to technologies and artificial life. Environmental psychology theories declare that children are greatly affected by the surrounding physical environments, emphasizing nature as the richest environment that can feed their cognition and enhance their thinking skills, creativity, and development. A wealth of research studied the effect of nature-connected environments through biophilic design on children’s physical and psychological developmental aspects (226,975 articles since 2000). However, less concern is given to the cognitive development aspect (only 18.75% of the total), with a gap in terms of metacognition as a kind of high-order thinking. Metacognition enhances children's behavior and high-order thinking skills such as reflective thinking, creativity, and problem-solving. Hence, this paper aims to investigate the role of biophilic design in supporting metacognition in young children by conducting a multidisciplinary study that addresses the four theories Biophilic, Attention Restoration, Froebel’s theory, and Metacognition. The aim of this paper was achieved, firstly, by conducting a structured literature review in a multidisciplinary approach in Architectural, Environmental Psychology, Educational, and Cognitive Psychology fields using academic databases such as Elsevier, Scopus, Research Gate, and Academia. Secondly, analyzing the gathered data and the interrelations between the previously mentioned four selected theories. This paper’s findings show three conclusions; firstly, a restorative environment supports metacognition by stimulating reflective thinking and developing skills. Secondly, biophilic design’s attributes fulfill the factors for creating a restorative environment. Thirdly, specific metacognitive skills are supported by certain biophilic attributes. This paper revisits the design criteria for childcare centers providing a framework and a guideline abstracted from the biophilic approach for supporting children’s development and metacognition.

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Liza Edward
[email protected] (Primary Contact)
Shaimaa Mohamed Kamel
Laila Mohamed Khodeir
Edward, L., Kamel, S., & Khodeir, L. (2024). Impact of Biophilic Design on Supporting Metacognitive Thinking in Early Childhood in Childcare Centers: A Multidisciplinary Study. The Academic Research Community Publication, 8(1), 01–23.

Article Details

Received 2023-12-07
Accepted 2024-01-24
Published 2024-01-31