Engaging Spaces

‘Open plan is the future’ – an insight into open planned learning spaces

726193-cranbourne-east-primary-schoolLast week, the Herald Sun published a great article about open planned learning spaces. In Victoria, schools have been rethinking their use of classrooms to ensure that learning spaces are engaging and inspiring. Open planned spaces have been at the forefront of this thinking, as schools develop shared responsibility with teams of teachers facilitating the learning of a larger group of students. Learning ‘communities’, ‘neighbourhoods’ and ‘villages’ are replacing the traditional classroom label, and students are getting to know groups of teachers who all share in the responsibility of learning. Parents often have many questions, concerns and wonderings about how this new philosophy effects student achievement. For many parents, their only experience of the classroom has been their own time in school. Naturally, they want more information about how these changes can influence achievement in a positive way, and why schools are moving away from a more traditional, industrial model of learning. This has always been a challenge, as we strive to work with parents to develop trust over time, as they see the benefits throughout the academic year.

Articles like this help schools to educate the parent community, and give them an insight into open planned learning spaces. A great addition to your next school newsletter, or parent information night.

To read this article, click here.

Engaging Reading Spaces

During our school’s BER project, we were lucky enough to be able to think about our choice in furniture, colour scheme and fit out in order to complement the amazing learning space that our architect created. Our space was a multi purpose library / technology area that really could be transformed to suit any need. Our space is dedicated to discovery learning  and developing a passion for reading. Occasional furniture in the form of ottomans and bean bags litter the area. A huge circular book case serves as the focal point for the room and creates a fantastic reading nook. Whilst searching Pinterest recently, I came across some great ideas that schools have implemented in their own spaces to develop a love of reading….

An amazing book shelf that invites the students to READ!

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An amazing book cave…ready for anything!

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Stephen Heppell recently shared his photos from a trip  to Sacred Heart School in Tasmania. Their library features giant texts, words everywhere and even pages on the ceiling!

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Amazing, engaging spaces that invites and invigorates any learner to read!

*All images are linked to their original source

Engaging Spaces

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It’s again been a while since I last posted to this space. I’ve been doing lots of learning myself (mostly of the returning to work ‘Mummy’ kind). Since becoming a Mum, I’ve been talking to loads of new parents about their expectations for their child’s education. The one thing that seems to pervade all of these conversations is that their ideas and hopes seem to be based upon their own experiences of schooling. For many parents, their only experience of being in a Primary School is the time that they found themselves sitting in a classroom as a 6-12 year old. Since graduating, most have not set foot into a classroom. I suspect that many parents of my generation will find themselves shocked when they walk into a 21C Primary School Learning Space.

Many schools have moved towards thinking creatively about the way in which learning spaces impact on student achievement. With the influence of many great educators, in particular Sir Ken Robinson & Stephen Heppell, the idea of the ‘traditional’ classroom, with its chairs and tables in rows is fast becoming a distant memory. Schools are thinking about the way in which children learn, interact and socialise. Schools are trying to enhance the way in which children work together to build their capacity to achieve their potential. Bright colours, open plan spaces,  accent furniture and mobile technologies adorn some amazing spaces that engage and enhance the learning experiences of our students.

For most of us in Education, this notion is not new and for those of you reading this, you may wonder why I am talking about the obvious. I have decided to add a new page to this blog that will be dedicated towards finding great articles and examples of schools who are pushing the boundaries and really trying to think about how they can design amazing spaces that captivate student thinking and learning.  Schools also need to support their parent communities to understand how this thinking can in fact improve a teacher’s ability to personalise learning and build on student achievement. I hope to share with you some great examples of how schools, teachers and students are doing this.

To begin with, a great article was presented in the Herald Sun Newspaper this recent weekend. Titled ‘Comfy chairs, cafe desk: it’s a cool school’, the article describe the process that St Mary’s Primary in North Sydney took to engage students in the journey of designing their new learning spaces. Classrooms are now called ‘borderless learning’. It’s a great example, not only of an exciting learning space, but a great model of inclusion, where students themselves designed, budgetted and presented their ideas for the fit out.

A cool school indeed!

*Image linked to its original source

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