Read five ways that a ‘Purpose-Built’ school building can offer the very best prep school education.
1. Calming Work Spaces Improve Concentration
The beauty of a purpose-built school is that each and every space has been carefully considered and thought about, right down to the paint on the walls and exactly where the interactive whiteboards and displays should go.
At Greenfield, we’ve elected to keep our classrooms as calm and clutter-free as possible to ensure that those using them have the best possible chance of remaining focused. As adults, we will often remove ourselves to a designated workspace, library or calming area if we need to concentrate and absorb information. Children are no different and in a purpose-built prep school like Greenfield their classrooms have been designed with exactly that in mind. Of course, this is made easier by the fact that our building has designated homes for all the sorts of equipment often stored in classrooms due to lack of space, so this helps us keep our classrooms dedicated to academic study.
2. Technology is Built-in
Old buildings, whilst full of character and charm, don’t always lend themselves to the ever-increasing volume of technology required in a school. In our previous home, Greenfield staff would often find that housing laptops or moving equipment from one space to another was tedious or nigh on impossible, and not to mention the work required to install new infrastructure.
In a modern building, the expectation for technology is already there and, with a new-build, the requirements are quite literally built into the plans so that there is plenty of scope to introduce the latest technology into the classroom. Our children are going to use technology in their daily lives more than any previous generation and so it is important that it is incorporated into their education.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Multimedia Suite, which houses the school’s very own recording studio, as well as computers, laptops, iPads, VR headsets, robots, green screen and much more!
3. Room to Move
It is a much over-looked aspect of the functionality of a school, but one that the Greenfield staff are well qualified to have an opinion on! The transition from our previous site to Old Woking Road, and then the addition of the new extension building, has really highlighted to us how transformative space can be. Wide corridors and spacious classrooms have replaced our old winding rabbit-warren and higgledy-piggledy rooms. Transitions between lessons are calmer, as the children have space to manoeuvre around each other. Lockers in corridors do not encroach on the circulation space, whilst high ceilings and large windows give the feeling of even more space in each classroom.
Breakout areas were incorporated into Greenfield’s extension after staff saw how brilliantly they worked in the Lower School. These areas offer space for staff to break away with a small group of children, help with pastoral issues during breaktimes and acts as an extension to the classroom when group work is required.
And it would be remiss of us not to mention outside space too: modern playgrounds and landscaping ensure that children have the space to burn off energy and embrace some freedom in a safe and secure setting which, no doubt, supports their learning indoors.
4. Facilities Fit for a Contemporary Education
Without doubt, one of the most exciting parts of a creating a school building from scratch is the ability to customise it to the needs of the occupants, in this case – the children! Greenfield has a very broad and varied curriculum, that even our youngest pupils benefit from. Our extension building includes a full blackout drama space that doubles-up as a dance studio with barre and mirrors. Next door, you’ll find a double-height music room where the baby grand piano awaits the eager musicians and vocalists. The three-court sports hall is an impressive addition for any standalone prep school and offers the children unrivalled opportunities to build upon their skills across many sports, while outside you’ll find floodlit tennis/netball courts which are soon to be joined by a full-size multi-use games area (MUGA). This vast development has given Greenfield some of the best facilities in Surrey.
It has to be the number one benefit to any modern purpose-built structure – accessibility is something we ought to be able to expect from schools but, with so many schools still occupying buildings that are either very old or built for other purposes, it is sadly not the case. We were able to overcome access issues to our first-floor when we built our extension, by connecting the first-floor corridor to the ‘new building’ which also includes a lift and ramp, rather than stairs. This means that children with either temporary or permanent mobility issues are not prevented from accessing all the same facilities as their peers. And indeed, parents and visitors can have a full and comprehensive tour of the site.