This week our Year 4 team visited the RM REAL centre to look at how we might realise our ideas on learning spaces with the purchase of some new flexible furniture. Before we went I realised that whilst our teaching team have put considerable thought into how we might transform our learning spaces, we had not yet consulted the children.
Therefore, I set up a Learning Agreement Time provocation to explore their ideas on how they would like their classrooms and learning spaces to be. They came in on Monday morning to find a plush dining room chair displayed in the middle of the room, and an invitation to explore it and decide what was good about it, what was bad, and what were areas for further investigation. From this I introduced the idea of transforming our classroom space and invited them to explore their ideas of what learning spaces could look like. Some explored this using paper, and some using MyDeco room designer. What I was most interested in was their thinking behind the designs, which I tried to capture in the video below.
Some interesting themes emerged:
- The idea of having a choice as to where they work, largely determined by how a workspace was set up in terms of social interactions.
- The huge importance they placed on books, and how these should be accessible and displayed in the classroom. Interestingly there was very little similar discussion about technology other than a few computers being dotted around the rooms.
- Storage of resources in a way that they can choose to access when they need them.
- Space to relax and learn in an informal setting. There was also an interesting theme of anger and frustration and sometimes needing a space to ‘calm down’ when the bustle of the classroom and the demands of other children became too much for them.
- A strong theme of physical excercise, showing the importance of P.E. to them and the potential of physical activity to improve focus.
A really interesting exercise, and one which has made me consider a number of things I had not really thought about before in terms of how we develop our use of space.