Podcast Whole Child Podcast

School Environments: Transforming Learning Spaces

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Schools that take a whole child approach to education are conscious of the intersection between physical space and the academic, social, and emotional development of students. The learning environments we create—the physical along with school climate—can either help or hinder learning, development, teaching, and collaboration.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we look at what kind of school environments optimize the way students learn, teachers teach, and communities interact and hear from guests who are creating learning environments that facilitate the process of ensuring students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. You'll hear from

  • Bob Pearlman who shares his extensive experience and expertise working at nearly every level of the school transformation process. Extend your learning with resources on new learning environments to support 21st century learners. Download a free chapter on designing new learning environments, written by Pearlman, from the book Rethinking How Students Learn.
  • Kristin Cuilla, director of new school development for New Tech Network, who describes how schools and communities are rethinking teaching and learning to create and transform learning environments where students are highly engaged.
  • Luis Torres, principal of P.S. 55 in the Bronx, N.Y., and a 2011 ASCD Outstanding Young Educator, who will share how he has used nearly every part of the learning environment, from the halls and walls to the neighborhood and community partnerships, to revitalize the school, students, family, and community. Learn more about Torres' work in this interview:



What is your school doing to transform the learning environment in ways that make a difference for students' learning and development?

Comments (3)

Alec Greenfield

June 13, 2011

I went to an elementary school that was built in 1903 and when compared to a school built just 50 years later and the differences seem to reflect the profound changes to societies attitude to education. The 1903 building has the has the architectural style of a Greco-Roman temple. The front had several large columns and there was a large copper dome, with the distinct green patina of age, on top. To the communities that built the school in 1903 education was sacred. Now compare that to the Bauhaus structures of the middle 20th century. Education was to be modernized, to be efficient like a factory. Children were now imagined to be ‘units’ of uniform characteristics that can be processed through and after twelve years come out ‘educated’. Children are not parts, nor are they uniform, they are so much more, but we will never know how much more until we treat all as the unique individuals they are.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Winston Churchill

Daily Reads | June 14, 2011 | Kything

June 14, 2011

[...] School dev’t experts & OYEA-winning principal discuss transforming learning spaces in new The Whole Child podcast episode. [...]


June 29, 2011

If the school transformation works for good then let it be…

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