Published October 25, 2021
The Future Classroom
Featuring: Pre-K through 5th Grade Students, Albert Lea, Minn.
By Julianna Arjes
As teachers welcomed back our future leaders this fall after an almost year-long hiatus, there were undoubtedly some changes to the look, feel, and function of their classrooms. We have been required to adapt what we think and what we know about the function of a variety of spaces, but the education sector seems to have as many question marks above it as corporate, office, and hospitality do in our current pandemic world.
Last month we spoke with some wise thought leaders about our sustainability efforts in the classroom (watch that here), and we recently spent some time combing through our inspiration feed for some of our favorite education projects (see those here). But — there was one last group of individuals whose thoughts we wanted to capture as we rounded out our deeper dive into this unique and ever-important sector in our industry.
We asked students, Pre-k through fifth grade, from our local community to design their dream classroom, and they delivered. From hover chairs (looking at you SIXINCH USA and 9to5 Seating), to retail (we wouldn’t mind a Target downstairs either), to pools, to the visibility of cleaning products, the students crafted spaces that, while fantastical, have some important truths if we look closely.
While a waterpark may not be teacher approved, there is an innate driver behind the requests for pools or slides, or gyms. What if students had the opportunity to move their bodies without disrupting workflow, something that is proven to help mental clarity and social skills?
Almost every single submission included technology, reinforcing what most already know — students want access to and interaction with today’s tech. How do we incorporate that into their classroom space in a healthy, mindful way especially with a looming concern around decreased attention spans and increased access to content?
Intentional inclusion of bathroom access, soap, sinks, and cleaning products was something of interest as the world wonders about the impact this pandemic has had particularly on the youngest generations. What are they seeing, feeling, and looking for in a classroom environment? For those that aren’t remote or hybrid, how are we visually sharing with them that they are in a safe, clean area with their best interests at heart?
And the bonus round: Wouldn’t we all love access to a Target downstairs? Way to ask for what you want, Winn!
We hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Big thanks to the littles of Albert Lea, Minn., for taking on our classroom challenge!