An open space for learning and inspiration: the newly designed school ‘Street’

Transforming hallways into colourful ‘Streets’ of learning and inspiration.

The pandemic has shown that education can adapt to change.

Virtual lessons, working from home, cloud-based applications; schools met the challenges of the previous year and have shown that the education system can be highly adaptable and flexible.

Education is evolving. The future will embrace communication and new technology.  

Admittedly, things have not been perfect and working from home has had major drawbacks. But, as students now return to the classrooms, perhaps we should now consider how educational spaces can adapt and change.

The design and layout of schools, as we all likely know, are often outdated and bland. This is especially true in areas outside of the classroom, for example, the school hallways.

On average, school hallways take up 1/3 of school buildings, meaning not only do they take up a huge chunk of space, but they are also where students will spend a lot of their time.

As outdated designs would have it, these are simply for getting from one classroom to another. They are chaotic, bland, and fast flowing; nothing more than motorways of traffic.

Here at Ministry Group, we support the shift towards re-designing these spaces into open ‘Streets’ for learning and inspiration – extensions of the classroom.

Informal learning is often just as important as classic formal learning within the classroom. If schools were to introduce an open space, with fresh furniture and “chill-out spaces”, then students would be encouraged to slow down and interact in new ways.

As the pandemic has shown, communication is key.

School Streets should also become places for displaying work and art. Of course, a lot of schools already do this, but there can be new ways to do so. For example, murals, colourways, and graphics that display the iconography and history of the school.

The idea of all this is to create a colourful space that inspires harmony and creativity. We believe that if students see colourful furniture and artwork in their Streets, as opposed to metal lockers and grey walls, then they will be inspired to produce better work and think outside the box.

Streets will adapt to fit the need of different age groups. For younger pupils, this can involve creating space for role play and imagination, for older groups, Streets can host IT suites and furniture for study and communication.

We helped contribute towards this open-space philosophy in a new state-of-the-art school in Gorseinon.

We supplied around 700 pieces of bright, vibrant and colourful furniture to the school. The colour scheme and furniture were designed to inspire and stimulate pupils. The new open school ‘Street’ will be the heart of school.

In addition, we have also recently completed the installation of educational wall art, and artistic ceiling tiles, throughout Cefn Saeson school – giving their atrium and school Streets a fresh incredible look.

We were totally blown away by the creativity and quality of the pupils’ beautiful artwork, which we printed directly onto the ceiling tiles. By incorporating the children’s artwork into the designs, we allowed pupils to fully engage with the development of their learning environment. After all, this concept is all about them.

Again, we believe this incredible and colourful feature will inspire students and add a bit of harmony to the school’s interiors and Streets. Educational spaces need to evolve into flexible learning zones that make use of strategic designs and colours to encourage creativity and inspiration in pupils.

Here at Ministry Group, we can help other schools to do the same and allow students to contribute. Hopefully, pupils can feel fully invested in creating a community by having their artwork on display.

Genella Cosslett, Business Development Manager at Ministry of Furniture, comments:

“By encouraging pupils to submit artwork that can be displayed in the newly imagined open hallways, we want to create a sense of community. We are re-designing the school corridor for the benefit of the pupils, so it is only right that they have a say in how that looks.”

In summary, we want schools to incorporate re-imagined ‘Streets’ – creating places of learning; overflowing spaces with IT suites, sit down area, reading zones, and role play areas.

We want every inch of the school building to encourage education, communication, and inspiration. Transform the classic chaotic school hallways into an open colourful space and Streets for flexible learning and ideas.

Ministry of Furniture can specify products to suit different learning styles and age groups, so that each school Street is tailored towards what benefits each student. Streets can be places for learning, imagination, communication, relaxing, computing; the possibilities are endless.

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