Since we are increasingly becoming reliant in tech based pedagogy, our children’s association with the outside world is witnessing a major transformation. The times seem to be disappearing where kids once rode cycles through the streets but on the contrary they now sit with iPads in their hands. It is the natural world that make us feel connected with our roots from where stems a sense of belongingness. However, contemporary pedagogy has made an extensive demand for digitized learning which has in some way or the other restricted students to traverse through the real world. As a consequence, children are battling with various illnesses and other health related problems which is taking a toll in their lives
On account of these issues, K-12 school authorities seem to take initiative in designing outdoor learning areas in order to instill fondness in them towards mother nature. The modern day education is at the forefront engaged in a battle to re kindle their interest for the outside areas systematically. Even though some schools are reluctant when it comes to exploring diversified learning methods as they are probably ignorant about the exciting and engaging opportunities that outward area presents to enlighten students with wisdom. The pedagogical experience extends far beyond the four walls that we see inside the classroom premises.
Distinct steps that schools should take in improving outdoor spaces would benefit students in improving critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is where imagination can take hold of the required learning vocabulary that a student should take expertise in.
Besides developing outdoor play area spaces, architects and designers are occupied in creating areas for classroom sessions. One strategy is to develop rooms for quieter or small group activities in outer surfaces as these would allow them to take breaks from high stimulation activities. The advantage of including natural or garden areas is for a direct and indirect connection with environmental science curriculum which offers with an exciting opportunity to explore wide range of plants and animals and ultimately children develop connection with nature in their day-to-day lives.
Some architects work closely with school communities to enhance their outdoor environment to support developmental goals. One of the first considerations while designing outdoor areas is to ensure key aspects like drainage, durability, safety and security are functioning properly or not. Failure to properly address any one of these aspects can undermine the design completely.
Another major factor is to include flexible spaces that allow for non-scholastic activities like drama or creative play and even for social interaction. Other safety measure is to create a separation from the automobile traffic areas and finally it should be under teacher supervision.
Outdoor environments in schools not only provide children a space to develop motor skills but it also offers endless possibilities to enhance mental fitness. For instance, problem solving activity, floor puzzles can be a great fun to ensure the mental well- being of children. A diverse space with suitable equipment will encourage even children who are less physically inclined to participate in other set of activities which does not require body movement. In this way outdoor learning spaces would generate inclusivity by providing students to take part in distinct activities without restricting to the age old physical exercises.
Adopting the concept of outdoor classrooms involves monitoring whether children are learning constantly. It is the responsibility of staff members to check whether these spaces are functioning properly and are children able to efficiently utilize these spaces. The students would benefit in improving concentration, building soft skills and broadening their knowledge in a practical environment. The greatest advantage is the vast area where a large group of students can be accommodated which removes limitation to learning from a restricted environment.
Concerns about physical and mental well- being have sparked a trend towards rethinking outdoor spaces aligning with broad educational goals. The k-12 education is coming to terms with the fact that creative use of outdoor spaces can make a valuable contribution towards desirable student outcomes.
The Changing Dynamics of Educational Infrastructure In terms of School Architecture and Interior Design
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