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  • Writer's pictureFielding International

What are 'Design Patterns'?

A pattern addresses a problem which occurs over and over again in a learning environment and provides a solution to that problem in such a way that you can use the solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.

Over the past several months, design partners have led numerous site visits and visioning workshops with the Portage community, where common themes emerged as patterns for Portage's new elementary schools. These design patterns will help define the physical environments desired to make each school unique and flexible for the future of learning in Portage. The following patterns have emerged as top priorities!

Welcoming Entry

Providing a welcoming environment for learners and the community promotes both a warm and safe atmosphere. Schools can balance the need for secure entries with the need to establish a welcoming presence for students and the community alike. Considering what the entry experience will be both inside and outside will be of high importance.

Secure and Welcoming Example: Vestibule at South Clearfield Elementary

Integrated Flexibility

Looking at spaces at schools beyond their traditional purpose can open many opportunities for facilities to be more of a whole community asset through agile connections. Creative problem solving around integrated usage not only makes the facility more of an asset to the entire community, but connects young people to more learning opportunities throughout the school.

Learning Commons

Using agile furnishings, interactive surfaces, and small group zones, the hallway becomes a place of gathering and learning. Instead of single-use corridors, expand the open areas adjacent to learning studios, teacher workrooms, and small group rooms to create a learning commons. Place a variety of mobile furniture, mobile whiteboards, and soft seating to create a project space that supports individual, small group, and large group activities.

Educator Work Zone

Providing designated, ergonomic spaces for educators to work individually and in teams are great for promoting collaboration and wellness amongst staff members. Key features include a variety of space types such as space to recharge, huddle, produce, and meet. It can be beneficial to have educator collaboration areas embedded in each learning environment for passive supervision and close proximity to students.

Gathering Stairs

Gathering Stairs are often placed at the heart of a school to create a vertical movement artery and a place of diverse learning and communal gathering. Schools can hold performances, host public exhibitions, and group cohorts together.

We look forward to integrating these design patterns uniquely for each elementary projects.



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