5 Elements of a great learning environment

As educators, one of our primary goals is to create a compelling, engaging, and inclusive learning environment that fosters collaboration and creativity among students, faculty, and staff. Creating a great learning environment in an atmosphere of comfort and familiarity leads to better student engagement and, ultimately, success on all fronts. 

Dr. Mary Scott, the CEO and Executive Director of Orange Lutheran High School (OLu), has her own thoughts on what makes for a great learning environment for students.

"A good learning environment is one where students feel safe, challenged, and supported. They walk into the space knowing they can ask any question and it won't be left unanswered, somewhere they are encouraged to think differently, free to explore their interests in academics, athletics, or other disciplines."

Like many top private high schools, OLu's school environment is safe, comfortable, and inviting. It provides a learning space free from distractions, and provides open spaces like out student union where students can interact with their friends outside of class. OLu students experience a culture of respect, faith, and trust, which allows students to be comfortable, express their opinions, and ask for help when needed.

What are the essential elements of a great learning environment?

Students need to be able to learn in a familiar, safe, and secure atmosphere. A great learning environment is a combination of intentional design, dedicated leaders, passionate staff, and a program that meets students where they are and helps them to grow into leaders. A great learning environment has certain key elements that help to ensure that learning is effective and enjoyable. 

Facilities designed with students in mind

To ensure that students have the best experience possible, one of our key focuses is creating a conducive environment for learning. These features include adequate spacing in common areas, themed colors, wide hallways and corridors, comfortable furniture, abundant campus safety staff and security equipment, and up-to-date technology. 

Great Learning Environment

What might you find on campus at some of the best private schools? 

  • Spacious and bright classrooms 
  • Well-equipped science labs to provide a practical learning experience 
  • A digital study space where students can do their research in a quiet and relaxed environment. At OLu this space is referred to as the “Learning Commons” which has a lot of computers and great natural light to create an atmosphere conducive to collaboration, creativity, and exploration
  • Technology to enhance learning, like tablets. At OLu, students utilize iPads for all classes.
  • A cafeteria and space to enjoy nutritious meals and socialize. OLu’s spacious student union and the OLu Cafe offer brain-boosting food and room to hang out during lunch, breaks, and after school. 

Fun Fact: Orange Lutheran recently removed all the lockers in the hallways since technology has reduced the number of books that students need to carry. This made way for wider hallways and additional seating. You can take a virtual tour of OLu here.


Extracurricular activities are an essential part of a holistic learning system. Choosing a school that has put effort into providing the best facilities for these activities is crucial. Some of the most common facilities for extracurricular activities in high school include sports complexes for various sports such as basketball, soccer, lacrosse and softball. Others are science labs, media centers, and art studios.

Some of the best private schools in the US, like Orange Lutheran, boast two standard gyms, a field, and an exceptional full-stage theater that sits over 700, supported by outstanding lighting and sound systems. OLu is currently working on adding a full dance studio and has built a solid partnership with local community colleges for sharing the facilities that OLu doesn’t house, like a pool and tennis courts. Nature provides a beach in the county where students can go surfing.

Learn more about how  student participation in extracurricular activities leads to a balanced high school experience here.

Flexible workspaces to adapt to learning opportunities

As the world of learning continues to change, high school students want more flexible workspaces to help them adapt to their new educational environment. Flexible workspaces allow students to create an environment tailored to their learning needs, whether that means having access to comfortable seating, a desk that can be easily rearranged, or a learning schedule that can accommodate their true passion. 

Providing a range of learning options allows students to choose how they want to work, leading to increased engagement and improved academic results. Additionally, flexible learning options create a sense of ownership and responsibility for students, as they can set their learning schedule.

Orange Lutheran provides students with various learning options, all of which offer a personalized, engaging, and balanced approach to education rooted in a Christ-centered environment.

Supportive Teachers and administrative staff

Having teachers and staff who are understanding and supportive creates a good learning environment, because students who feel supported and encouraged by their teachers are more likely to stay engaged in the lesson and feel comfortable asking questions and receiving help when needed.

"At OLu, one of our greatest values is that we hire Christians who have relational acumen, can build relationships with students, and provide them with the academic support they need,” said Dr. Scott. 

In addition to providing students with academic support, teachers and staff can serve as mentors and role models. They can provide advice and guidance to help students navigate difficult decisions, challenges, and social pressures of high school. By having teachers and staff who serve as positive influences, students can feel more connected to their school environment and be more likely to succeed.

Opting for a high school that prioritizes and dedicates resources to comprehensive academic support services is a pivotal decision in setting your child up for success and cultivating an environment that supports their growth. Discover the essential academic support services that should be on your radar as you navigate the selection process for your child's high school journey.

It can also be beneficial to have teachers and staff willing to go the extra mile for their students. Whether it's taking the time to listen to a student's worries, helping with college applications, or just providing a friendly face in the hallway, having teachers and staff willing to go the extra mile can help create an environment of support and acceptance.

Experience excellence within a faith-based framework.

Download OLu’s guide, “How to Choose the Right High School for Your Child,” here.

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