Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Educators have the responsibility of igniting a desire to learn in our children.
Which is no easy feat.
The classroom is changing – rapidly. Technology, family structures and the way children communicate have evolved. These differences influence what an ideal learning environment looks like for children today. Although the traditional classroom may have served us well in the past, it can feel like a prison for today’s children – hindering their ability to learn rather than encouraging it.
Ignoring the advancing needs of kids in school is no longer an option. As such, a number of progressive school systems and teachers are joining the movement towards a more collaborative, flexible learning environment.
What does a balanced classroom look like?
That depends. On the neighborhood, the school, the teacher, the students. But at the core, a flexible classroom space requires two things:
Options. A balanced classroom provides kids with several dynamic spaces for completing their schoolwork. These options may include:
A shift in mindset. Schools and teachers must be willing to change their philosophy, not just their classroom layout.
Flexible spaces provide options while providing more responsibility. Students take ownership over their learning. They discover what works best for their minds and bodies in terms of their education. This understanding spills over into every area of life as these children grow.
Funding the ‘custom classroom’
It’s no secret that resources are limited when it comes to our education system. Finding the money to build a flexible classroom may prove daunting. But for educators who are willing to think outside the box, here are a few tips to make it a reality:
Is all of the effort even worth it?
There’s no shortage of research to demonstrate the value movement has on stimulating the brain. There is also considerable evidence to support the pros of offering different spaces for different tasks. Rarely is a simple school desk ideal for every project or role a student has throughout the day.
If you’ve regularly uttered the words “sit still” to your kids, this ideological shift may be difficult. But rest assured, when given the opportunity to move around a little, children will fidget less and focus more. They may even start to enjoy activities or subjects they previously struggled with.
The short-term impact a balanced classroom provides isn’t the only perk, either. Kids develop self-awareness. They learn the value of teamwork. These skills will serve them well as they graduate and enter a workforce that celebrates collaboration and creativity.
The next step
Educators understand better than anyone: there is no simple formula for determining the ideal learning environment. Classroom design and dynamic furniture are just two steps toward achieving a solution. But these steps are critical.
The consultants at CDI Spaces are passionate about bringing life to your vision for the classroom. You understand your students and what they need. We understand how to create the space to make that possible. Contact one of our client-driven consultants today.
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