Long before the world had ever heard of the Coronavirus, we had designed a unique and innovational learning environment very different to that found in the majority of schools.
It was decided from the outset that the new school had to have a very different learning environment to compliment both the Montessori pedagogy and 21st century skills. It had to foster independence, self-responsibility, movement and be connected to nature. This has been achieved through the use of a large open and flexible space, where the use of natural daylight and ventilation is maximised and where it is directly in contact with the outside environment through the use of large bi-folding doors. This enables the students to move freely outside during periods of independent and collaborative learning where they can choose from a variety of inspirational spaces where they feel they can best work.
It is because of this unique environment that in the event of other pandemics, it will be possible for social distancing to be achieved far easier than in a tradition school where space is a priority with individual enclosed classrooms connected by corridors and where access to the outside is normal restricted and limited to either a playground or other hard surfaced area.
Whilst it remains unknown how the current global crises will end and when we will return to normality, it has highlighted the fact that the design of most schools is not only unsuitable for 21st century learning but also to deal with other pandemics that might lie ahead in the future.