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Designing with kids

When developing the Outdoor Classroom for Fordham School, we had a wonderful time involving the whole school community with the process. We held two workshop days that involved every child in the school, as well as setting them all a half-term project to design their own ideal outdoor classroom.

We explored ideas about structure and form in the first workshop, through building big structures from newspaper and spindly structures from spaghetti. After the half-term homework project, we took ideas from the children's designs and developed a series of different options for the classroom that responded to some of their themes. We brought these in model form into school and held a feedback day where the children told us what they thought of the options.

They chose a form that was partially embedded into an existing earth mound on the site, creating an interesting interplay of levels that suggested many ways of playing on and around it. The comments received were brilliantly perceptive and clearly expressed - a model that many adults could learn from!