Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)

Turning Confined Spaces Into Agile Classrooms

confinged spaces

This private girl’s school has seen the transformation of cramped spaces in agile learning environments with new ergonomic furniture.

Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School (ECS) is a private girl’s school in Westmount, Quebec, Canada. ECS was ready for classrooms and furniture that would allow for multiple learning styles while offering the utmost flexibility to rearrange the room depending on the lesson plan of the day.

ECS’ hurdle with creating a flexible learning environment in the middle school was the small classroom sizes—these classrooms are just 439 square feet—and need to support 22 students. ECS reached out to Aquest Design, who specializes in forward-thinking educational spaces. Aquest Design knew from previous projects that VS America furniture would be able to transform the classrooms into agile environments. VS America’s ergonomic furniture inspires motion and has the flexibility to adapt to every changing need—giving educators the freedom to easily create spaces for every type of learning style.

A few key changes helped transform the small classrooms:

  • Stepping away from the 1:1 student to desk ratio opened up the learning space and increased classroom possibilities.
  • Implementing wall storage along one wall allowed the learning area to be free of clutter and for ECS to really benefit from ergonomic, agile furniture, while still having plenty of storage space.
  • Removing the designated teacher area freed up even more space. To engage with the students in a one-on-one setting or in groups the teacher can use the mobile, height-adjustable Shift+ Interact lectern to maneuver throughout the room as needed.

Now the space can quickly be rearranged to be used as a Socratic learning space, the soft seating is a more relaxed area, and window sills are a favorite. Since the teacher space is not defined, teachers will sometimes sit at the back, other times amidst the students.

Working creatively to design and furnish the small space resulted in truly agile learning environments that meet the needs of each student and educator.

This article originally appeared in the School Planning & Management October 2019 issue of Spaces4Learning.

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