Updated: Jul 20, 2019
Specially-designed educational spaces can maximize children’s learning potential. And, we can hardly question the fact that learning environments impact children’s neuropsychological activity.
As learning enhancement tools for children, educational spaces have been a major focal point for educators and the scientific community. Supporting that, more and more studies are pouring massive positive evidence.
John Seely Brown, the founder of the Institute for Research on Learning, famously summed up the importance of this endeavour,
“If you can design the physical space, the social space, and the information space all together to enhance collaborative learning, then that whole milieu turns into a learning technology, and people just love working there, and they start learning with and from each other.”
Although creating tailor-made educational spaces for our kids is challenging, it’s a rewarding upgrade we all need to make for their vibrant future.
Grasping the Nature of Innovative Learning Spaces
After you take up the plan to redesign your school, the obvious question that arises next is: how to identify an innovative learning space? What makes it “innovative” exactly?
Many collaborations between educators and architects happen every year. The results of their work keep reassuring what makes up an innovative learning environment.
To ignite that impact locally, we aim to create a hub of school designers in Bengaluru. And in making this happen, we're taking initial steps to create awareness hyper-locally and take this nationwide soon.
We can use the following 5 core advantages of innovative learning spaces to educate the community and inspire everyone to make this a reality for every child:
#1 Allows for Exploration, Curiosity, and Creativity
Modern students are growing into the age of the innovator. To be happy and successful individuals, they need to become independent thinkers and explorers who are filled with limitless curiosity. So, the learning spaces we create for our children should be able to trigger and accelerate these processes.
Sensory pathways can drive the curiosity of kids and engage them to think for themselves as they explore it day after day.
#2 Super Flexible
A learning environment is defined as flexible when it allows students to adjust it, reorganize it or just use it as-is to suit the task at hand. In other words, it is multi-usable.
A splash fountain is a perfect example. Many preschoolers have ‘Water Play’ in their curriculum. For this purpose, they build water tanks that occupy a lot of space and they use them only once or twice a month. Besides, they require special effort for maintenance. This is a fairly new idea introduced into schools by Verdant Vista, the Bangalore-based architectural design firm specialized in schools.
With splash fountains, you have complete control and flexibility. When not in use, it can be used as an open play area as shown.
#3 Enables Social Interaction
Facilitated social interaction takes the prime role in developing essential life skills among children. Though schools connect individuals from different parts of the world and contexts, proactive facilities are still crucial to make sure social interaction happens to the right extent.
Sydney-based teacher librarian Julie Grazotis shared a great example of how school infrastructure can promote social interaction among students. In her school, Julie and her team created targeted centres for social interaction. In spaces they call Caves, children can have small group activities. And in the Campfire, the whole-group activities are facilitated.
#4 Integrated Fully with the School Curriculum
A school is identified by the curriculum it practices. It’s at the heart of everything the school does. In fact, you can call the school curriculum as its constitution. So, when school redesign is taken up, it makes total sense to integrate it with the curriculum. This also allows the curriculum to expand its frontiers and serve the kids in innovative ways.
So, the learning spaces should complement the school curriculum. Take the simple example of teaching kids about different geometric shapes within a classroom that contains these shapes integrated into its walls, floor or ceiling. The children would naturally ask questions about these shapes and learn with ease.
Unless well thought of, a learning space built bypassing the school’s curriculum, however innovative it is, might not help the objectives of the school.
#5 Boosts Natural Development of Various Bodily and Cognitive Skills
Learning spaces like wall activities, climbing walls, adventure play areas, sensory pathways, and sandpits encourage children to develop fine and gross motor skills. Beyond that, participating intensely in these activities can expand their intellectual abilities into new realms of cognitive activity.
There’s no denying that technology has transformed the way teachers teach and children learn. Not just smart boards, laptops, iPads, smart TVs which are part of digital technology, but also technology should be ingrained into the school architecture, materials used, furniture designed, and almost every part of the learning environment.
Technology integration is so powerful that it can create infinite possibilities for real-time feedback, collaboration, critical thinking, project-based learning, personalized learning, and so much more!
The more one digs the mine of Education-Design, the more one notices ways to improve the learning spaces and even innovate new ones.
We need to emphasise the fact that schools are predominantly the places where everything is sophisticatedly designed to enable them to emerge as happy and global citizens.
You may think that one kind of innovative spaces may work well for your children than others. However, all of us share the same goal: to create spaces that enable children to think for themselves, master social skills, solve problems strategically, innovate and live their lives to the fullest.
As school designers in Bangalore, we take the responsibility to engage the community about this issue, start meaningful conversations, and create innovative learning spaces to fully equip the children into the age of innovators.
Before you go!
Verdant Vista welcomes you to join our in-house architects and make a step towards building innovative spaces for your children. Drop a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 080 22255599 / +91 8618152167.