There was a bit of a tough challenge attached to the last meeting. It was time to make the revised plan for wall removals over the summer. Originally, it was requested that we had one big open space with many options to divide the spaces. However, changes in timelines and budget allocations meant that our dreams and big vision for a combined Yr 5/6 area have been delayed for a little longer. This was going to be a toughie! Some walls could be removed, but could not be replaced with anything permanent.
The meeting had two goals: If you want some walls removed, what would be the best ones to remove? Where would everyone have their home base? And what furniture could be bought?
It was quite interesting to watch the initial responses to no replacements for walls. Some were similar in nature to my own original response on hearing the news. What would be the benefit if we couldn't do 'a good job'. Others were, "Well let's not change anything and wait until next summer..." How could we manage sound issues with 180 students all in one big space? However, after a few minutes and when all initial responses were heard there was a change towards "what if...?" This was breakthrough moment as the meeting then became a problem solving session. We spent almost 40 minutes in a creative flow of questions and answers....designing, redesigning, discussing as a group or having side conversations. When it came to an idea that was actually workable and had many benefits to students and teachers there was one last little hurdle. Could this design actually get signed off? We still need the space to have identifiable classrooms. Partial wall removal allowing for additional lines of sight and a simple curtain track and a curtain provided a solution that could work. The curtain was the security blanket. It provided a way of dividing classrooms when necessary, allowing teachers private spaces for whole class meetings etc yet still leaving opportunities for the bulk of the day to be spent being open and allowing for free movement, with maximum visibility to shared areas.