New classroom environments at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School stimulate academic and social-emotional learning

Friday, January 28, 2022

Courtesy Photo/Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School

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The classroom furniture of the Notre-Dame de Lourdes Catholic school facilitates learning.

By special at the Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY – New learning spaces at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School improve flexibility to help students learn.

In August, Lourdes College Academy opened on the newly renovated fourth floor of Judge Memorial Catholic High School, which is adjacent to Our Lady of Lourdes. The academy accommodates 48 students in grades seven and eight. The renovated space and classrooms feature state-of-the-art design, furnishings and technology.

Also, just before the holidays, the lower class desks in Lourdes were replaced with the chairs and other flexible seating options that had been purchased the previous year.

Long gone is the elevator cover or open desks. And while the chairs are still in use, other seating options – stools, beanbags – also exist in Lourdes classrooms. Today’s classroom furniture means flexibility to improve student engagement.

Every day in Lourdes, you can see desks lined up in neat rows or rearranged into pods for face-to-face discussion and collaboration. All furniture is fitted with wheels that allow any classroom space to expand or contract to accommodate different activities – individual work, class discussion, group projects. The key is flexibility. Flexible furniture options are more conducive to the different ways students learn and the different ways teachers teach.

Lourdes fifth-grade teacher Nathan Little has always incorporated flexible seating, allowing students to express themselves and choose in their classroom. Incorporating various types of seating at different levels throughout the room allows students to find workspaces where comfort meets potential – whether on the floor, in a beanbag chair, or sitting at their desks, a- he declared. “A space that allows movement can reduce student fatigue, improve behavior and increase performance.”

Classroom furniture and layout can also have a huge impact on teaching.

“Teaching is not a spectator sport,” said Principal Christine Bergquist. She encourages her teachers to teach while moving around the room, rather than standing in front to give instructions. Walking around the room allows teachers to talk with their students, promote relationships, track progress, and continue learning.

Educators want to prepare their students for the future – in school, at work and in life. Our Lady of Lourdes classrooms reflect what students will encounter, and flexible spaces that promote collaboration and problem-solving are at the forefront.

Courtesy of Notre-Dame de Lourdes Catholic School

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