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Optimal Places for Learning

FISW ‘s teaching philosophy and curriculum are very innovative and dynamic. To implement them even better, we want to redesign our classrooms into optimal places for learning, into places that take into account how students learn.

Students learn by making connections between what they already know and new information. They recall knowledge by transferring it from their short-term memory to their long-term memory. This transfer takes place through repetition, emotional connections, and coding of verbal and visuo-spatial information. Therefore, classrooms must be designed with a purpose and must follow age-appropriate guiding principles. 

During our lively faculty meetings, our teachers discussed the design of their ideal classroom at length. They created precise guidelines for our preschool classrooms and our elementary school classrooms.

Our Preschool classroom must be flexible and welcoming and must support children’s independence and creativity.

Lightweight and easily movable furniture provide flexibility. Dedicated spaces partitioned with L-shaped furniture support students’ independence. Natural light and warm colors provide visual stimulation. Quality furniture in light wood creates the right look and feel, a welcoming atmosphere. Personal cubbies and closed storage space give students a sense of ownership. Walls to showcase students‘ work encourage their creativity. 

 Our elementary school classroom must be dynamic and must have adaptable multi-use configurations.

The configuration of our classrooms changes multiple times throughout the day as furniture is rearranged to support a variety of activities, teaching approaches and learning outcomes. Individual desks come together for collaborative work and are separated for independent activities. The design of the desks meets the needs of all our students by having both low collaborative tables and adjustable individual standing desks. The appeal of the classroom stimulates students. The walls are painted with calming colors. The board is replaced by white board paint that covers an entire wall. The chairs are ergonomic and aesthetic. The storage space is ample which removes clusters. Technology is easily integrated in our curriculum. A cart of tablets  is rolled into the classroom. These tablets are used to improve learning by providing options for diverse learners, by facilitating more student-centered learning opportunities, and by increasing access to resources.

Donate to our Fund a Need at the 2018 FISW Gala on Mach 2, or online following the event, so that FISW can redesign as many classrooms as possible and better integrate technology by purchasing a lab on wheels (a cart of 20 computers).

- Barbara Greiner, Head of School

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