Our 2022 word of the year was partnership. Through intentional partnerships we were able to impact learners and educators in new, meaningful ways.
Leaders in learning (aka you!) created better learning environments all around the world! Some of you impacted spaces local to our home base in British Columbia, such as Victoria Native Friendship Center and Union Gospel Mission, to projects in the US, such as Marygrove Early Education Center in Detroit, Michigan, and Garden City Elementary in Rhode Island. You listened to your heart and your learners as you designed spaces with intention that will support a range of learning for years to come.
In 2022, we continued connecting with students to better learn and understand what they need from their learning spaces. The 2nd through 4th grade students at Garden City Elementary designed their ideal school that Fielding International is building for them now. Middle school students involved in A4LE’s SchoolsNEXT student design competition, challenged their thinking and designed schools of the future across the country.
Natural Pod and four additional British Columbia based companies came together to create products with a story to tell. These partnerships created our Better Together Partnership Collection: ChopValue, Unbuilders, Halfmoon, and LifeSpace Gardens. These products have a story to tell; this ChopValue set uses 15,000 recycled chopsticks!
We put a focus on learning at the Interior Design Show in Vancouver in September. Many conferences focus on flashy corporate environments; this was a win to give a voice to creating intentional learning spaces with quality materials. We created a small-scale Better Together Learning space for attendees to feel the difference in how the space felt, and of course explore the products themselves.
Also in September, Ashanti Bryant, our long-term industry friend, was the opening keynote at the A4LE Early Childhood Conference. He challenged us to connect, create, and amplify, with the goal of elevating our voices and actions that will move the important work of creating early childhood spaces with purpose, forward.
This community has continued to support the Green Schools National Network in their mission to shift the “paradigm by transforming curriculum, culture, and campus into a Green School and students from test-takers into change makers who are prepared to live in and lead a sustainable future.” This organization is bringing like-minded individuals together to ensure their schools and districts are set up for success well into the future.
With our commitment to social and environmental responsibility, we formalized our impact and public benefit we provide by becoming a Benefit Corporation. We are committed to providing non-toxic, and renewable or recycled, ethically sourced and manufactured educational furnishings and materials, that have multiple purposes throughout their life, and have a plan for where they will go after their current use.
The possibilities of 2023
In the year ahead, we will strive to build upon the good work that is happening within the learning landscape while staying true to our values and way of doing business.
We seek to make an impact that matters this year; to challenge our current processes and ways of being, to create a more sustainable future. We’ll continue to explore opportunities outside of the typical, to bring a second life to materials labeled waste, or ensure that raw materials are sourced from responsible and ethical sources.
We will continue to have a positive impact in our local British Columbia community through 100% of our manufacturing operations. This is how we give back to the community that has given so much to us and lessen our footprint on the environment.
Together we can continue to support North American manufacturing, giving materials a new life, and continue to keep focus on learner-centric environments through asking, listening, and learning.
Thank you for doing your part to make learning spaces better. We couldn’t do it without you.
We wish you a healthy and impactful 2023!