Rachel Wind's Modernised Learning Environment

Rachael Wind Deanwell Primary School  

"Once upon a time," began Stacey with sufficient happy enthusiasm to draw the attention of those who sat with her, "in a place not too far away there is a village and on the edge of this village lives a large scaly fire breathing dragon." Stacey stopped, smiled and nodded towards Cara.  

The small pigtailed Cara bit her lip in careful consideration then cleared her throat slightly and continued, "And this dragon was no ordinary dragon because this dragon goes Moo." The four small children laughed and I couldn't help but laugh myself. All eyes were now on Filly, her eyes held a mischievously delight. "His name was Marpus, which could hardly be said to suit a dragon but it is difficult to give a dragon a suitably frightening name when he insists on mooing instead of emitting a decent sized roar!"  

All eyes jumped immediately to me. It seemed I had stepped into the storytelling circle. I knelt down between the children. "Some dark and troubling things can happen to a dragon who is left to mutter "moo" under his breath," I continued.  
Rachel the children's teacher, nodded and indicated with silent hand movements the different learning areas in this combined classroom with its less conventional modernised learning environment. The aim of this pilot was to highly engage the children in their learning environment with the focus on the child and their individual learning styles. There were beanbag corners where the children were busy with creative writing and storytelling, there were more conventional desks for the children who preferred this option, there were low tables with children buddy learning nestled closely together on their knees and a table covered with maths equipment and lots of busy hands.  

The furniture, to make this dynamic enriched team teaching environment work, needed to be specialised to facilitate the move away from the sixty children at sixty desks of the more formalised older style of teaching.The newer furniture provided space, movement and above all individual choice not as available in a more rigid static setting. It was immediately obvious this new approach was more ITC and group learning accessible as well.  

I wandered back to listen to the children in the beanbag enclave.  

"And what is more," laughed Filly, "the villages would never again complain about a dragon that mooed as long as Peter the rabbit kept his promise and stayed in the garden instead of attracting all sorts of unwanted tourists by sailing across the lake. A dragon that mooed could be tolerated but a rabbit that was a yachtsman was simply too bizarre for words."  

I really enjoyed this concept of a modernised learning environment. I think it would have suited me very well. The wish for Rachel's classroom is for an industrial, double lined beanbag which can be added to the beanbag enclave.