As educational paradigms move towards a real life approach, there is a need to design inspirational learning environments.
Mont21 is a prime example of this new breed of innovative school. The learning environment has been specially designed to compliment Montessori pedagogy. This will promote student autonomy, personalised learning, nature, community and the type of working environment most likely the children will encounter when they leave education.
In addition to the normally expected specialist subject facilities, for example sport, music, performing arts etc, equal importance should be placed on the design of teaching and social spaces if the children are to benefit from optimum conditions for their development, academically, personally, socially and emotionally.
Mont 21 has been designed around a large central garden that acts as a focal point for the community where students of all ages can learn and interact on a daily basis. This is a special space, carefully planted with trees, shrubs and grass with a plethora of different places to learn, read, chat or just reflect. This is accessible through open walls from the internal learning environment.
Individual pods provide designated space for short periods of direct teaching that open onto the spacious flexible learning environment. This is provided with moveable tables, chairs and screens to enable each child to choose what works best for their own learning style, whether it be independently, collaboratively or in small group sessions. Social areas furnished with soft seating provide alternative space for discussion, reading and research. Kitchenettes allow students to make a drink or snack as they wish.
As a certified sustainable building, there will be an abundance of natural light and ventilation from tall windows and open walls. Whilst noise is always less in a Montessori environment than in a mainstream school, this will be careful managed through enhanced acoustic design. Temperature will be controlled by large, low energy ceiling fans with underfloor heating generated from a ground source heat pump.
There is a coffee shop where the older students can socialise, hold discussions with their mentor or simply relax. There is an outdoor yoga studio for students and staff to use throughout the day, an Eco hub for recycling and up cycling materials through student led enterprise; organic vegetable plots, forest school, woodland play area and a wildness garden.
Mont21 school will provide an exceptional learning environment for the 21st century.