At Quakers Hill Public School in New South Wales, students from Kindergarten through to Grade 6 are experiencing exactly that, learning in innovative new classrooms as part of a Future Focused Learning program headed by principal Bert Lo Campo.
Deputy principal Christopher Lambert is excited about the new changes, which he explains are not simply restricted to the physical environment.
“…it’s not a matter of putting in a new table that’s got a nice colour to it and you know, maybe making it a funky shape, it’s about really changing the way you teach, changing the way you put things into practice, and making a real difference in these children’s lives,” he explains.
The school staff looked to British educator and ICT expert Dr Stephen Heppell for inspiration on pedagogy and learning spaces, with a significant focus on student comfort.
“The whole concept of it is around it being flexible and adaptable. We think a lot about the expectations that we put on children in regards to their learning and quite often we ask them to sit still, sit up straight, and you know, spend an hour working at a desk or two hours working at a desk.
In reality we want them to be engaged and excited by their learning,” Lambert continues, adding that occupational therapists agree that allowing children to move around is beneficial to their health.
So far, 27 of the 38 classrooms at the school have been refurbished, with plans to convert all existing classrooms at the school to the new model. “Each room is different. Each room is set up differently, and obviously the needs of the kindergarten children’s learning is different from that of a Year 6 Stage 3 student,” Lambert extrapolates.