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HERA designs learning spaces at elementary school

As any student or teacher can tell you, learning happens inside the classroom and outside those four walls. Teaching comes from educators and from fellow students. Discoveries are made when studying alone and while collaborating in a group.

Wild Horse Elementary, a K-5 school in Chesterfield, recently received grant money for a small renovation and HERA was thrilled to provide pro bono programming and concept design to transform three corridor areas into innovative learning spaces.

Principal Amy Tongay, Designer Jinhee Lee and Marketing Manager Reagan Branham worked with students to design creative spaces that will extend learning beyond the boundaries of the classroom. Through multiple visits to the school, HERA worked collaboratively with fourth- and fifth-grade student leaders to identify their needs and project goals. Using HERA’s proprietary physical model to communicate design ideas, they came to a consensus on a design theme and aesthetic that would tie all three spaces together and create unique learning environments.

The students’ design ideas challenged our team’s creativity. They envisioned triangle work tables, which are not standard pieces in our model kit of parts. Jinhee responded by spontaneously creating one using pieces already in the model kit and masking tape. Voila: triangle tables!

The final three spaces will be themed around sunrise, midday and sunset. Bulky, dark storage will remain, but be updated with whiteboard paint to make the furniture more useful to students. Paper origami cranes – made by the students – will hang from the ceiling to introduce movement and rhythm into the space. And of course, triangle work tables will be incorporated to encourage student collaboration.

Through the process, the students were introduced to the fields of architecture and interior design, debated design ideas and discussed budgetary limitations.

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