The staff and students at Grey Lynn school in New Zealand have moved from single cell, teacher-directed group organisation into open collaborative spaces, in line with developing New Zealand government policy. This has left principal, Alicia Whata, with the challenge of transitioning staff and learners from their existing practices to working in the new open-plan learning zones. Grey Lynn school have been one of the first to have gone through the Planning Learning Spaces in practice international projects.
Having successfully gone through the PLS process with our project team, the school is now building upon the learning outcomes, the links between pedagogy and space and how this should be embedded in the design of their new learning environments.
The staff at Grey Lynn have embraced the new collaborative spaces in their school and are constantly learning from one another as they continue through their next stage of development. As both the project facilitator at Grey Lynn and as a former principal, Sandra Jenkins says “I have witnessed how engaged and empowered staff have been throughout the PLS process. It has created an opportunity for staff to reflect upon their current and next practice at Grey Lynn school. Staff have been able to define the learning activities and behaviours that will ultimately shape the planning of their new learning spaces.”
The PLS process at Grey Lynn has had a profound impact on the learners, staff and the community. It has shown staff at the school that change can be positive and impactful on learning and teaching. As Lead Project Facilitator and a former teacher, I am pleased that our PLS framework has allowed change to take place effectively at Grey Lynn school. For some teachers at other schools, the thought of changing something in the learning environment can often create apprehension, but the way in which our framework carefully guides the staff through different scenarios shows that changing the way things are done, can prove to be positive, successful and inspiring for all teaching staff and learners.
As quoted by Sandra Jenkins (project facilitator)
“Through following the PLS Framework, the school have redesigned their learning spaces in the most effective ways possible and now we must ensure we have continued sustainability going forward. The school have also identified the next steps that they wish to work on through their strategy for change plan. This will support the school to continue to reflect and review the effectiveness of their new collaborative spaces. It will be great to see the changes being implemented at Grey Lynn school over the next 12 months.”
Look out for my next post, which will give you a recent update on our PLS project at Trumpington Park Primary School, here in the UK.