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Designing indoor learning spaces

What it is

An indoor learning space is the inside of a building where children and students learn. It's often called an indoor learning environment.

How it can help

A good indoor learning space lets people have different kinds of learning experiences. It should be easy to change to suit different learning activities. The design has to consider the needs of current and future children and students.

Design features that help people get around

Less furniture

Less furniture means there is less clutter. It creates more space for people to move around.

Connected spaces

Spaces should be short distances from each other so that children can see and get to them easily and independently. If there are connected areas that are outdoors they should be under cover.

Design features to encourage participation

Different ways to learn

Different learning spaces separate from the main classroom allow for:

  • a broad curriculum
  • different learning experiences
  • small group activities and learning.

Some examples are:                          

  • a hall or larger space for assemblies and games
  • rooms for art, dance, music, computers, and technical skills.

There should be spaces where children and students can learn life skills, for example cooking or laundry.

These spaces should be accessible for people who use wheelchairs and mobility aids, for example having leg clearance under sinks and benches, and turning space in front of benches.

Use safety features such as heat-resistant glass on ovens and equipment with controls that that are easy to understand.

Use sound absorbing material to make it easier for everyone to hear and be heard.

Multi-use spaces

Have learning areas that can be used for different things. Use flexible furniture that can be moved around to create a space with less clutter.

If a hall or large community space includes a stage, it must have a ramp with a gradient that allows people who use wheelchairs to get to the stage.

Adjustable learning spaces

A classroom or learning space should be easy to adjust. It should work for children and students at any age. A flexible space helps staff create different learning and play activities. It makes it easier to keep everyone interested and can make it easier for different groups to mix together. This can all give children and students richer and more varied learning. Some examples are:

  • portable storage units to divide up a space as needed
  • adjustable table heights
  • soft furnishings, like bean bags and couches
  • window heights that let smaller children see outside
  • spaces that can be opened up and made bigger
  • two rooms that can be connected
  • a common shared area that’s close to most of the other rooms.

Circular furniture design

Furniture should have a circular design that doesn’t have sharp corners. It makes furniture safer and allows people to be closer and work together more. It also can be set up for a wider range of activities.

Contact

Ministerial Advisory Committee: Children and Students with Disability

Phone: (08) 8226 3632
Email: decdminadv [at] sa.gov.au