The concept of school buildings have traditionally been spaces where children “sit and get” a learning experience in accordance with their age groups. It includes strict schedules of 40 to 50 minutes duration classes before moving on to another subject and another classroom of similar design.
This type of schooling is prevalent for all categories – from kindergarten through middle school to high school. However a new line of thought has emerged now that traditional school spaces need to be so modified that they enhance the learning experience as well as provide an environment where children can be better nurtured.
What has specifically given rise to this line of thinking is the perception of education that has changed over time. School experiences have gradually shifted from being a purely bookish experience to where learning includes all round development of physical and mental faculties. Focus is now simultaneously given on enhancement of knowledge levels as well as skill sets in various vocations.
Given this modern awareness, school authorities are today opting for buildings that support these next generation requirements. Most importantly blending seamlessly into next gen needs does not require sanction of any grandiose plans or elaborate budgets.
This is quite unlike other sectors or industries. For example think for a moment about a mid-level garage and service station wanting to upgrade facilities so that it can be authorised to issue road worthy certificate in Melbourne or anywhere else in Australia. The investment in such a case will definitely be substantial.
What will a next gen school look like? The first is of course better utilisation of existing space. In conventional school buildings, long and winding corridors are usually the norm and these take up about 25 to 30 percent of space. Now these spaces are being changed to facilitate close interaction amongst small groups of students or for providing small reading nooks for individuals.
For new school buildings, the latest concepts are integrated into the plans and architecture of the buildings. Next gen school buildings focus on the concept of anytime and anywhere learning atmosphere. There are usually lots of classrooms where students congregate for an informal learning environment unlike strait jacketed classrooms specially allotted for a section. Modern classrooms are large, airy and open up onto large community spaces where children of all age groups can mingle with each other after classes.
Next gen school buildings are also structured according to the specific needs of students. Those stressing on specialised vocational training along with formal classroom education have large spaces for workshops as well as classrooms. On the other hand, those wanting their pupils to have a formal learning experience will focus more on having a large number of classrooms. Just as their parents will choose a certified service station for car air conditioning regas, they too can choose a school according to the goals that they would want their children to achieve in life.