ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Shaping Spaces to Facilitate Learning and Development

Winston Churchill was on to something when he said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us." How are our schools shaping our students' learning experiences; social, emotional, and cognitive development; behavior; and readiness for college, careers, and citizenship? What do our schools say about our values and views of learning, teaching, children, educators, and the role of the community in schools?

Beyond our school building, the ways we set up classrooms and cafeterias, use school buildings after the bell, create learning opportunities outside the classroom, and display student work in halls and on walls speak volumes about our learning cultures. Educators with limited or no financial resources who are committed to transforming the learning culture can use student input, research, creativity, and ingenuity to guide the re-creation of learning spaces. Although some communities have the luxury of building new schools, many others have had to retain design elements from the first half of the last century. And most of us remember design fads that have come and gone because they weren't effective.

How can we transform learning environments so that students learn better, teachers teach more effectively, and schools become spaces to intentionally develop the whole child? Join the conversation as we combine research, practice, and common sense with creative approaches to shaping the structures that facilitate or inhibit our ability to teach across disciplines, learn in and out of the classroom, address different learning styles, and support both active and passive learning. Listen to the most recent Whole Child Podcast, featuring three guests with diverse experience creating learning environments that help ensure students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Read the Whole Child Blog to hear from guest bloggers, and dive deeper into the latest research, reports, and tools on the school environments topic page.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Comments (1)

Chip Wood

July 24, 2011

Readers who want to especially explore the use of space in elementary classrooms should check out CLASSROOM SPACES THAT WORK by Marlynn Clayton

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