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With schools either planning to reopen, or with some having already done so, this is a good time to examine how our learning spaces can look going forward.

The main priority of course is to keep our educators and students safe. But maybe rather than trying to find workarounds to systems and environments that were less than ideal to start with, we could explore more creative solutions to how learning spaces could look. The truth is workarounds are simply not sustainable if we are aiming for the long-term learning success of students. They still need engaging, inspiring, collaborative environments in order to thrive both today, and into their future.

The photo below shows one possible solution addressing how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but isn’t exploring how we could still create the creative, collaborative and comfortable environments students and educators need to experience successful learning outcomes. We as educators have worked so hard to move away from this; how can we support being progressive even during this time?

There is an alternative we could explore – thinking of learning environments as canvases that can grow with educators and students and their future needs. Environments that are multi-purpose and flexible. Not only would we be prioritizing the health of our students and educators, but by providing dynamic spaces we can still focus on the high level learning goals of students. Flexibility really is the key word here, both for physical distancing and to provide educators and students with effective spaces to accommodate individual learning, and when possible, group projects and whole class collaboration.

As part of creating forward thinking solutions, we must also stay vigilant to continue making decisions through the lens of environmental responsibility. The climate crisis is one crisis none of us can social distance from. We still need to be teaching about, and providing sustainable environments where the goal of developing environmentally aware global citizens is woven into the fabric of the school culture.

Below is an example of healthy, flexible learning environment – created with our CreateSpace Collection. The three images show the same space and furniture but in different configurations, and these are only a starting point as there are multiple layout options. All the furniture pieces are modular, multi-functional, sturdy and easily movable. Our sustainable wooden furniture is not only natural, healthier and extremely easy to clean, it’s also environmentally conscious, created with trees harvested using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC® C012337) certified source material.

If you are struggling with organizing and re-creating learning environments during this time – we invite you to reach out and collaborate with us. There is a solution that does not have to take you backwards; let’s find a solution that continues to keep us moving forward.