It’s all in the name: House of Knowledge, not only a school but also a home where learning resides and an engaging environment where students can settle in and feel comfortable studying.
Indeed, the House of Knowledge’s (HOK’s) Chaoyang Park Campus is a home away from home for its young students. Amanda Micossi, HOK’s Kindergarten Principal, says this campus is “Designed with kids in mind so that it’s useful and accessible for young children.”
“Every August, before the school year starts, we have our teachers crawl around on their knees so that they’re the height of the kids and see things from their perspective. That’s how we decide how high to hang things on the walls, where to place things, and more. We have to keep in mind that even if we, as teachers, end up hitting out heads on things because of this it shouldn’t matter because it’s more important that the design is convenient for the kids.”
Maintaining that student perspective is key to the campus’ success, Micossi says. That not only goes for the layout but also the children’s schedules.
For instance, the students only spend short periods of time at a table or desk, before moving on to other parts of their classroom to do other activities. Moving to soft carpeted areas or bean bag chairs for story time is probably one of the most popular of such switch ups.
When the students are seated, they aren’t overburdened with boring worksheets or another conventional fare. Instead, a variety of tasks and activities are given to these students to not only help them develop mentally and explore their artistic imagination, but also refine their motor skills and give them plenty of tactile experiences.
The varieties of hand held fun don’t stop at their desks, but in nearby play bins which are filled with plastic beads that the students can pour and that the teachers can use for basic measuring lessons. Older students play in sandboxes as their teachers tell them about biology and science, and the lessons stick in their memories and the children have fun and literally get their hands dirty.
The students are also tasked with cleaning their cups and plates after snack time, and picking up and refuse left over from artsy activities, so that keeping their favorite places tidy becomes a fun habit rather than a boring, unfamiliar chore.
The campus’ play areas are also thoughtfully designed, not only fun slides and plenty of fun, safe ways to climb. “We wanted to have different levels and heights so that the children aren’t spending too much time looking up at their teachers,” says Micossi. “Seeing things from different vantages and angles is a subtle but important thing for the children to expierience.” Not to mention that they are fun spaces for children hop in and let their imaginations run wild.
In short: HOK’s students don’t wile the hours away sitting stiffly at a desk, but instead enjoy dynamic, colorful and comfortable spaces that invite them to thrive.
This post is sponsored by HoK
Photos: Uni You