Rightsizing design considerations

8. Variety of spaces and flexibility.

Teachers and students more easily maintain a sense of connection to their school when the physical world in which they reside is a vibrant community that nurtures and sustains them. Cognizant that many effective learning environments offer places to stop, loiter, hang out, and enjoy the scene, some plan for various degrees of “publicness.” Recognizing that people sometimes want to be near the action and at other times prefer quiet and isolation, many planners consider how to incorporate a variety of educational settings within each small school to offer places for quiet reflection, confidential conversation, public profession, small- and large-group interaction, project-based learning, seminar discussion, and student exhibition. They think through storage issues, especially as they relate to shared workspace and the development of student projects. Some offer individual workstations for students (with requisite storage) rather than long impersonal hallways with lockers. When designing office space, planners should also take into account adult availability to students. Many work to incorporate places that promote collaboration, build community, and encourage parents and community members to feel a shared sense of ownership and support for the school.