Archive for January 22nd, 2014

January 22, 2014

SEEDClassroom Workshop: What Do Kids Want in a Learning Space?

by Melissa Harding


The SEEDClassroom is about to become a reality at Phipps! The SEEDclassroom, a portable, sustainable learning space built to Living Building standards, is a great example of tailoring the learning environment to the needs to the children who will learn there. This modular classroom is a way to provide a healthy, happy environment for learning. Even better, it is designed for kids and with kids’ input; students are considered to be stakeholders in the design process and their opinions matter.

On January 17th, Stacy Smedley, Executive Director of the SEED Collective, the group behind these modular classrooms, visited Phipps to talked with the kids who will be using the new classroom. With her help, we ran several workshops with our stakeholders – namely, students in grades K-12. What do students want in a learning environment? The results may surprise you! Most children automatically gravitated towards biophilic design principles and showed an incredible understanding of biomimicry as well. It turns out that kids really do want to be outside and they really want the outside to come in!

Some examples of their ideas include: lots of plants in a variety of configurations, including a living wall and a private classroom garden; fish; a slide in the shape of a sunflower; a tree in the middle of the room; a train; a rock wall; lots of windows; a bee window; a tree house; an indoor waterfall; a grass floor; vines that play air hockey; and a giant hand that gives you breakfast whenever you want. These ideas show imagination and a natural love for being outside. While these ideas will probably not all be incorporated into the final design, they will be a wonderful jumping-off point for the classroom designers. Thanks to all the families who participated to help us make our classroom great!

To see more images from the workshops, check out the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To learn more about the SEEDclassroom and get a sense of what it will look inside and out, check out the website.

To learn more about the Living Building Challenge (LBC), check out this website. Learn more about the LBC at Phipps here.

The above photos were taken by Christie Lawry.


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