Combining a hands-on approach to learning with activities that encourage independent problem solving turns school into a place that fosters creativity, life skills, social skills, and health and brain empowerment. Through “tinkering” and designing, students are able to identify problems, research possible solutions, test a hypothesis, and eventually apply what they’ve learned to a real-world situation.
Using a similar approach to that of architects or engineers—building, rearranging objects, and graphing a design—students can put learning into their own hands. Not only does this type of free creativity build brain development, but it also helps students retain information because they are learning in an interesting way.
Even though a design approach (or a tinkering method) is beneficial on many different levels (this includes special education kids as well as students in traditional classrooms), schools aren’t always equipped for the activities that support this type of learning. Schools can create movable classroom spaces that play-up creative thought, inspire imagination, and allow students to better interact with one another.
How? Ideally, every school would have the budget to implement the changes need to make movable classrooms. This isn’t the case in most public schools. However there are ways that you can re-design your classroom/school without spending money that you don’t have.
This includes researching the topic, testing ideas and planning.
Re-designing your school or classroom to include movable spaces puts learning in a whole new light, even if it’s on a budget! It allows students to think creatively, work together (building valuable social skills) and develop life skills in ways that worksheets and lectures cannot.
A movable classroom can be particularly beneficial to special education students. Often, students with special needs either have limited mobility or may require extra time for movement. Arranging furniture and creating a new environment can engage special education students in a way that other activities cannot.
Images from Pine Hill Waldorf School
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.
Dr. James Stanfield, Ed.D.