Twenty first century learning, propelled by dramatic advances in technology and revolutionary changes in the workplace, has gained a foothold to some degree in nearly every Jewish day school. That reimagining of education brought new attention to school architecture and how it could be brought into the conversation of dreaming of a new educational future. Jewish day schools took notice, and as opposed to what happened with the 1960’s open classroom, a significant number of schools decided to take action. This issue of the journal is inspired by that new thinking.
Despite the diversity of articles submitted–classroom teachers who changed their own classroom, schools with limited budgets who made minor furniture modifications, schools with enviable budgets who completely redesigned their campuses, and a summer camp which repurposes its spaces every year to meet educational goals–the same (or notably similar) guiding principles were used in the conception and design of educational spaces.
We identified four primary themes running throughout, and it is worthwhile to see the way they play out differently (or not) in differing circumstances.
Spaces need to be varied, dynamic, and adaptable
Spaces need to foster connectivity and interactivity
Barriers are removed while facilitating a variety of spaces
- Form follows function, but function also follows form
As always, our hope is this issue will spark discussions in schools, both about space and about the education taking place within those spaces. Those discussions may take place on the faculty, departmental, leadership, lay leadership, or even student level.
The Room Is the View: Transforming Spaces - Estee Fleischmann
Successful Use of Building Design to Improve Learning - Russell Jay Hendel
Ida Crown Jewish Academy’s 21st Century Campus - Leonard A. Matanky and Kerry Leonard
Space – Reflecting and Facilitating Core Values - Melissa Michaelson
The Third Teacher: Student-Centered Design at Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School - Gil S. Perl
Where’s My Desk - Amanda Pogany
Transforming Classroom Space - Lisa Rendely
The Powerful Story of a Table: Building a Collaborative Learning Space - Melanie Waynik