When I help plan a school, each choice has a purpose. The size and shape of a room afford for certain activities, the technology in place and its location can support various types of instruction, color choice can create a certain mood. However, in a time in which I am researching the often reality that these envisioned possibilities don't live up to their potential, it is great to attend a tour in which the choices, and their success, are tangible to the users. This was apparent on a recent tour of Ruyton Girls' School and their new "Margaret McRae Center". The building is a transitional space for girls in years 7-9, providing the middle year's a unique experience apart from the traditional classroom.
One our tour guides Ella, a year 7 student who insists she was not coached beforehand, spoke of the round tables and how they help them communicate. She loved the ease of storage and how it allowed the space to be organized and in her words "calming". She touched on the lack of a front of a room in the classrooms with multiple monitors and how each space, with their different furnishings, operated a bit differently. I was impressed - not just with the design but with how the purpose had been communicated, whether overtly or unconsciously. It was excellent! See below for photos.