Around the world, there is a call for learning to be authentic, student-centered, and innovative. Unfortunately, the most common way architects design schools, using a "Classroom and Corridor" model, often limits these things. Pathfinders make it easy for schools to try different environments that are much more aligned with their values for teaching and learning, allowing innovators to innovate.
Pathfinders address the problem of outdated facilities by converting "Classroom and Corridor" spaces into vision-aligned learning communities. These communities use a diverse range of spaces to accommodate the needs and goals that are specific to each school's context - often there's a healthy mix of active classrooms for whole class activities, cave space for individual work & reflection, and collaborative areas for small groups.
Schools that have done this have amplified student and teacher voices by getting them to be co-designers of the pilot space. This intentionality to listen to the voices of users helps clarify the purpose of the Pathfinder, which impacts both the design of the environment and the readiness of the people who will use the space.
Pathfinders are spreading, especially within schools and districts that have done one already. At Singapore American School, one Pathfinder led to another, which led to another, and then another - the effects became so profound that the Learning Community model overhauled their entire campus serving 4,000 learners.
In the Cranston Public School District in Rhode Island, Pathfinders led to the transformation of the district's oldest elementary school with amazing outcomes. The success led to the design and construction of a brand new elementary school designed around Learning Communities. That school is opening in the fall of 2023.
Contact Nathan Strenge
+1 (320) 248-1135
Senior Learning Designer at Fielding International
USA Country Lead at HundrED