You have to make the most of your surroundings, says Colette Giaretta…
Well, one thing we can say is that not all spaces are smart! A smart space is about making any space more agile, multifunctional and sensorial.
It’s about making a space work better, making it more creative and happier! Transforming cluttered rooms with limited possibilities, into flexible rooms filled with endless possibilities.
In these times, more than ever, making spaces quick to change is hugely important.
As children return to nurseries and schools, calm, harmonious and purposeful spaces are nurturing, supportive and lower anxiety levels for everyone. Welcoming places, with an underlying complexity, where children feel safe.
It’s about making the room itself, by the things we choose to put inside it, an extra pair of hands: a third teacher (and we all need one of those!).
Thinking carefully about what we put inside any room is key to the way we develop a project together with our customers. We want to understand who the room is for and what it must be. Only then can we share meaningful ideas and propose solutions.
So, again: what is a smart space?
It’s one that is furnished and resourced with care. Where children can have ownership of making changes and choosing accessible resources themselves.
Teachers and children can quickly and easily reconfigure the space by moving mobile, modular furniture to create new zones for different groupings and activities, or a pop-up class base in any room.
It might be about choosing nesting tables and storage, or perhaps wall-mounted folding tables, so workspaces can expand and be stored away whenever required, creating more floorspace and more possibilities when tables are not in use.
It might be about having interchangeable worktops, so a storage unit can be sometimes a play kitchen, sometimes a light table, sometimes a sand or water tub.
It can be modular partitions, which themselves offer interactive and sensory play opportunities and encounters, while also creating new pathways inside the classroom.
Or simply a play loft, offering multiple play activities (roleplay, construction, movement, sensory, cosy corner) with a relatively low footprint in the room.
Above all, it’s about creating spaces for learning that are not static places. They should be engaging, interactive and responsive, able to support different demands and propose many different possibilities throughout every day.
Smart spaces are spaces for the future!
Colette Giaretta is the managing director of Creating Classrooms and has 20 year’s experience in education and space design. Creating Classrooms is a new company bringing HABA furniture and play equipment to the UK. For more information visit creating-classrooms.com.
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