I often walk through our building and marvel at the design. I can take no credit for any of it really, but the first time I laid eyes on the plan I knew I would love to be an educator in that space.
I love the cedar and the automatic LED lighting. I love the amount of shade we have under our beautiful big eaves and the large sliding windows. But what I love most is that the building is designed for maximum flexibility and maximum collaboration.
The possibilities for high quality teaching and learning become endless when I look at a space like the one we have.
In any quality classroom in New Zealand there will be multiple things happening as children learn and grow through various independent activities and through direct instruction with a teacher. In our classroom space these multiple things can take place without any impact on the other things that are happening. The children who are learning through a highly engaging game can do so in one space, while the children who are exploring their thinking in a group with a teacher can do so in another space without the distractions of the noise created through the game. Both are important strategies for learning but they require slightly different environments.
The design of our building allows for noisy learning activities to be contained, while the glass doors provide accountability for all. At other times having the doors wide open may create the best learning environment while children engage in large projects with multiple teachers. At other times each teacher might be doing something different in each space like dancing, music and drama, and all the doors can be shut, so each group is able to engage in and focus on their learning activity without worrying about disturbing others.
Flexibility is an amazing thing, but as with the human body is usually most effective when combined with strength.
At RCS we have the space to promote maximum flexibility and we have staff that strive to use strong teaching practices. With this combination I believe we will see some amazing learning taking place.