George Lucas Educational Foundation

combining school and community

combining school and community

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Hi and thanks for this great forum! I'm an interior design student and for my senior project am designing a middle school/community center. I'm still in the programming phase and am learning as much as possible about different philosophies regarding education and the education environment. What is the ideal size for a school? What spaces need to be for students only (not open for community use)? What spaces have the most potential to serve both students and the greater community? How can the design of a school connect the students with their community and provide for inter-generational learning? So far, I am thinking that a museum that explores the languages, landscapes, and cultures of the region could help increase both interest and knowledge of the region (for students and public alike - students could be docents). Combining a public library at the school could ensure that both the library and the school have adequate funding - and could improve the quality of the school library. A performing arts center that has separate public entrance would help make the school building a focus for the community. If you have any other thoughts, please let me know! Time is limited and since budget is not an issue (the joys of being a student), I can entertain any and all ideas. Thank you!

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Susan Foley Urban's picture
Susan Foley Urban
parent of middle school son and colleg age daughter

Perhaps the landscaping could include a community garden. You could invite older citizens and especially older immigrants to share gardening and cooking knowledge. Perhaps produce could be used in the school and at senior centers. Just an idea off the top of my head good luck with your studies . . i would be interested to see what you come up with.

nancy ann gomez's picture
nancy ann gomez
Bilingual School Teacher/I teach Spanish in the U.S. and English in Mexico

yes, great idea, the education needs to evolve around the child, so if you design a history class, make the class like the world and involve all the history, math, geography, culture, and the list goes on.

Make it like a theater dramatization, so the kids are able to play out the assignment.

Mr.Bee's picture
Third grade teacher from Michigan's Upper Peninsula

If it is going to open to so many people it has to have technology that is both visible and easy to use. Everyone has access to audio and visual assistance. There also needs be be places to play. Have fun.

brian goodwin's picture
brian goodwin
Director of Grants and Special Programs for North Wasco County Schools

Great Idea!

Spaces for intentional interaction during school time (garden, cooking, arts, music), and out-of-school time as well. Smaller and more cozy meeting places where unintentional conversations and interactions may spring forth, between faculty and community, or between students. Lots of natural light is a must! A sharing room - where students can share with the community, and community can share with students - large enough for a classroom or two of students to fit, along with 10 to 20 adults. Finally - remember to include lots of storage (I have never worked in a school that had enough)!

Good luck!

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