Community Connections is the title of the 4th section of the book The Third Teacher.
My favorite piece of advice in this section is to “build a nest…Children need comfort just as much at school as they do at home. Give them a soft, quiet, and cozy area to play in by themselves or with a few friends.”
With a new room to move into, it’s not just designing the larger teaching spaces that need to be considered, but also the smaller nooks, stations, centers, and floor space.
Another piece of advice was to “consult widely and often…Those heading up the planning process for a
new school will get off on the right foot by inviting every potential user and stakeholder into the process right from the start.”
Planning and designing something like a school is a large undertaking and while not everyone is going to get everything they wanted, if there is some way that every stakeholder from neighbor to teacher to student feels like they were part of the process and thus part of the community, the building should be a success. I’m anticipating success with our school’s new building.
As I read this book, I couldn’t help but think about Greg Mortenson, author of another book, Three Cups of Tea who visited our school a couple of years ago to talk about his mission. His challenge to design and build schools in remote areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan serves as a good reminder of the different kinds of schools around the world and the communities that value them.