The result is a highly successful project based on a holistic “learning community” model rather than the now outmoded “Cells and Bells” model. The makeover has enabled students and teachers to implement and experience a new kind of collaborative learning environment that follows the patterns of a learning community.
Immediately, the school community saw a marked increase in student attendance and engagement as students adjusted to and fell in love with the new 21st-century teaching and learning environment.
The level of engagement, personalization and physical comfort has reduced absences and the school has seen a huge drop in disciplinary issues and all but eliminated the need for specialized isolation and decompression rooms for students with special needs – instead, they are thriving within a suite of spaces shared by everyone in their learning community.
In March 2020, when schools shut down for Covid-19, Eden Park found that students who had been in these new learning spaces were more successful when setting up their at-home learning environments. Teachers found these students could work more independently than those who were not used to learning environments that provided freedom and agency.
By reconfiguring underutilized circulation space, learning now extends to shared areas outside the classroom and allows students and teachers the ability to flexibly shift between various modes of learning and increased collaboration.
Classrooms are now studios, and the new space offers an interconnected array of different spatial types to support a variety of learning modalities to support all students. The new learning community is a powerful ensemble of spaces. It contains a shared learning commons, a social heart, and a robust collection of discrete learning studios of varying sizes, small group rooms, and seminar spaces, which can respond to individual needs and personalized learning.
The new floor plan provides peer interaction and student enrichment. Flexible and multi-use spaces are now found everywhere. The adjacencies of these spaces from one to the other, and their visual connectedness, supports varied learning styles and student-centered activities. Students have agency to choose the right space type for their work and teachers are able to shift easily from one lesson to another and feel ownership over their shared learning community.
Furniture layouts support simultaneous student groups, presentations, teacher lectures, project-based learning, small group learning, individual research, and technology-based learning.