Part Two of a Three Part Series: Following on from Part One and the recent interview with our CEO, Bridgitte Alomes and Douglas Magazine – this is the second part of sharing our better learning manifesto diving deeper into how it guides our company vision and purpose, and how that can positively impact your work and your students.
Manifesto: a public declaration of policy and aims (man·i·fes·to)
Manifesto Part Two – How Shaping Learning Environments, Shapes Learning.
Last week we looked at the positive impact of good design in education. This week we’re looking at how Natural Pod’s learning spaces and furniture create environments where students and educators can thrive. While it’s clear there is a positive impact of good sustainable design on the overall well-being of educators and students, the next level is to create environments that support the curriculum and learning goals so that students can succeed.
So how do we do that? We spend time listening to educators and students to understand what they want and need, and ultimately create environments that are designed around their learning goals. This translates into very student-centered spaces where flexibility is a priority. We work on defining different areas for different educational needs: quiet independent learning, creative activities, and interactive collaborative work. Allowing students the ability to ‘move’ is also a big focus of our work. There’s now so much research showing that providing students the opportunity to physically move while learning, can really boost their focus and engagement. Not only do these aspects of classroom design allow students to find the ways that they learn best, but they also give them ownership of the space, and that fosters a sense of pride and belonging.
All Natural Pod’s modular furniture and learning environments are intentionally and thoughtfully designed to provide exactly this kind of flexibility. All our products are light enough for students to be able to move them into different configurations and every piece is multi-functional. For example, our tables come in different sizes and are height adjustable. The curved edge design means they can be interlocked together to create larger work areas when needed, and they are even strong enough to double as a stage. We’ve created standing desks in the same style to allow movement as mentioned, and these too can be separated or nested together to provide individual and collaborative learning zones.
The newest furniture addition to the Natural Pod family is the Pacific Shelving Series. This series particularly embodies all the principles of design and education environment creation that makes a space student-centered. We wanted this range to really shift the notion of what classroom design looks like and show what’s possible. The end result is stunning; the pieces are exceptionally multi-functional, being shelving, storage, and display cases that also provide flexible space delineation. Both the curved and straight shelving units are double sided with a translucent centerpiece allowing light to come through and be dispersed, and either unit can be used alone but ideally are used in groups to create multiple space use configurations.
A strong part of Natural Pod’s bigger vision is also meeting educators where they are at and inspiring them to make small changes to support their vision of a better learning environment, one that works for them and their students! Even little changes can have a big effect on the culture of a whole school, as small positive changes can shift the connection between the community as a whole.
The truth is, when students experience learning environments being designed and created around them and their needs, they feel welcomed, inspired, valued and that they matter. This is huge in terms of their self-confidence, how they interact with the people around them, their engagement level and ultimately therefore how they learn the skills they need to thrive and succeed in their futures.
For anyone who is a decision maker in students lives – we hope you seriously consider the impact of your purchasing choices on the needs and holistic betterment of students and educators when creating learning environments for them. We’re guided by these values and we know they will benefit you, your students and your needs for sustainable furniture purchasing choices.