The Learn Together Room is a unique space that we have created here in North Bay. A few years ago the idea was born that the room could be used for Learn Together lessons and active learning to take place, free of desks and chairs. The room was dedicated to the 4 strands of the programme and enabled the children to have circle time, to carry out group work and to role play scenarios.
At the end of last year we decided the room needed some TLC and a revamp but also we wanted to make the strands and the learning that takes place (as part of the Learn Together programme) very explicit for the children. Two very dedicated parents Niamh Bridgeman and Simone Fitzpatrick came on board and together helped to create a concept design for the room. The 4 colours chosen represent an individual strand. The colour green represents Ethics and the Environment, blue – Equality and Justice, yellow – belief systems and pink – moral and spiritual. There are a variety of bubbles painted in these colours on the wall and in each an image that reminds the children of some of the topics they have covered or indeed will cover over their primary schooling life. The colour concept and naming of the strands helps the children to understand what they are learning about and how the strands can integrate and cross over with one another.
The colour palette selected was chosen to create a calm space. Mindfulness, meditation and yoga often take place in this room and so the colours needed to enhance these experiences. There are also numerous ornaments and artefacts relating to the various belief systems displayed in the room. The soft furnishings and fabrics selected create a warm and inviting space. The children’s art work on the walls demonstrates their experiences of the programme and these will be rotated on a regular basis so that their expressions and interpretations of the programme are recognised.
The room has more greenery (some real, some artificial) and the children are going to play an active role in taking care of the room and plant life going forward. The library is bursting with beautiful new books on a wide range of topics and on the wall we have created a visual library separating the books into their various categories. The books on these shelves display books of interest for a particular theme being covered e.g. Martin Luther King Day. The space by the library allows for research projects, group work or individual reading to take place.
From the planning stage to completion the project took just over a year but already the fruits of the labour are clear to see with the children making great use of the space and enjoying their class time there. The youngest and oldest child in North Bay cut the official red ribbon on our launch day and a prize giving ceremony celebrated all the beautiful art work that the children had created for the room.
We hope that you will come and visit the room for yourself.
Many thanks once again to Niamh Bridgeman and Simone Fitzpatrick who dedicated so much of their time and energy to the project and without whom the room would not have come to fruition. Also many thanks to Paul Evans our wonderful caretaker for his skills and patience with our many requests.