Six patterns for designing in-home learning environments

Over the years, Fielding International has been designing schools to look and feel more like home than institutions. We have identified many timeless and accessible design patterns that can be applied across a multitude of settings. We hope these six design patterns can help you create learning environments for well-being during this challenging time.

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Making a Daily Schedule

Involving kids in the creation and ownership of these spaces is key for their success in both school and home environments.

Fielding International Senior Learning Designer has her daughter begin each day by developing her own schedule and outline for how her time will be spent learning.

Schedules not only help everyone stay on track but provide children the agency to shape their own learning process.

  1. Cave Space

Students need places to self-reflect and relax during their school day. This also applies to home learning environments where different family members are trying to navigate working in the same small space.

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Cave Space examples designed by Fielding International at Academy of Holy Names in Tampa, FL and Anne Frank Inspire Academy in San Antonio, TX.
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Cave Space Design Pattern © Fielding International
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Cave spaces can be any space that offers security and quiet.

2. Active Space

These spaces provide the structure for children to express their need to move and release physical energy. In the school setting this may look like a gym, playground, or field. At home we can easily create these spaces inside and outside, such as indoor obstacle courses and outdoor play and exploration centers.

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Treehouse at Anne Frank Inspire Academy in San Antonio, TX.
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Siblings enjoying the “Circus school” they set up in their backyard.

3. Library and Reading Centers

Libraries in schools are intentionally designed to reflect a sense of calm and quiet. Allowing kids to carve out their own space in the house designated for reading will help limit distraction and provide structure to focus.

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Library at the International School of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia.
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Child finds a space that helps her engage in reading at home.

4. Connection to Nature

This design principal is so important in all the schools we design, so you can imagine how useful it will be to home learning environments with greatly restricted outside travel. Vistas to the outside world, ample natural light, and direct access to outdoor spaces increase our wellbeing; such as mood, energy, and motivation.

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Students at Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School in Alberta, Canada finding joy in the sunshine.
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Toddler gets to explore his own “lake” in his flooded backyard.

5. Project-based Learning

This form of learning is a wonderful way to engage and excite kids of every age. Allow your kids to come up with ideas of problems they would like to solve through projects. In this design pattern we are using cooking projects as an example, but the opportunities are endless.

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Foods studio at Norma Rose Point School.
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Child making muffins at home for the first time by himself.

6. DaVinci Studio and Makerspaces

Makerspaces can be any space set up to facilitate art and project creation. These contained spaces allow kids the freedom to execute messy projects that may not be suited for other areas of the home.

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DaVinci Studio at Hillel Day School in Detroit, MI.
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This child decided to set up her makerspace outside.

Please let us know if you tried any of these patterns at your home. We look forward to hearing all of your ideas. We will follow up soon with daily schedule recommendations from our Learning Designers.

Written by

Fielding International - Architects Educators Learners

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