Glömstaskolan: Architecture and school environment (post part 2)

The school is a large rectangular building with irregular windows (and a playground that includes a huge parkour area!) that is meant to mimic a tree. When you walk in you are greeted by a large circular entryway that reaches all the way up to the ceiling of the building. It is around this circular area that the rooms are set. I’m no whiz at geometry, but the circle in the middle and the rectangle on the outside make for awesome triangle-like spaces for the classrooms.IMG_1819IMG_1786

However, it’s not like you may think: it’s not just one classroom behind every door. Instead, behind every door is almost like a whole other school “area” for lack of a better word. For example, music has it’s own huge area, complete with practice spaces, amazingly huge gathering spaces, and even a recording studio. Other esthetic subjects (as they are called in Sweden) also get their own spaces, as does the library.IMG_1784

Each grade level or grouping also gets their own large, almost “school within a school” space. For lack of a better term, I am going to call this a home area. These spaces all mimic each other and are amazingly open and flow. One of the main principles is that spaces should be open but also have the ability to be closed off somewhat. When a student walks in to their home area, they are first greeted by their lockers and place where they will be able to check in. Instead of hallways as they typically are, the flow from place to place within the space is more like a Starbucks: chairs, bean bags, windows, and white board walls with TV screens. Class can easily be taught here, as can students study by themselves, in small groups, or just hang out.

Each home area then has several large classrooms. No classroom is “owned” by any teacher. (The teachers are in teams; I’ll get to that later.) There are also small breakout rooms around the “Starbucks” spaces. There are also amazingly cool mini-amphitheater like spaces that are spotted in around each of the home areas. Each home area also has at least one kitchen area and a large storage area. The bathrooms are individual stalls and are just off the group gathering areas as well, to decrease the chance of bullying. (This goes for locker placement as well.) All in all, every space is completely flexible and one teacher can almost see the whole space just by themselves. (On a side note, most of Sweden has bathrooms set up like this. Each toilet is its own little room and is gender-neutral. Thanks, Sweden; you get it at least.)

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Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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