Designing Student Amenities That Encourage Creative Growth
Providing spaces in schools that promote extracurricular activities in children and grow interests, hobbies, and talents is highly appreciated. These activities will help children try their hands at various fields other than academics. Arts and crafts, carpentry, pottery, weaving, music, film making, photography, and other activities can all be provided. Student clubs or amenities can take up an area of about 25 to 50 square metres each, according to the Bureau of Indian Standards.
List Of Contents
Arts and Crafts Room
Arts and crafts rooms are places where students can learn about the visual arts. These rooms can preferably be placed on the ground floor to facilitate an outdoor venue for instruction and practise in the arts. An arts room can be placed close to a water tap facility while working with paints and colours. It can be placed alongside the exhibition space within the public zone to encourage access by the public for viewing. The following items are commonly found in these rooms:
Large flat table tops and chairs
Sufficient drying racks for multiple students' art work
Lockable flat storage to accommodate the art pieces
Provision of sufficient storage spaces for large quantities of art supplies like sheets, canvas, stationery, art equipment, and students' works may be made available in the room. Display areas on the walls or pin-up boards within the rooms can be provided to showcase and promote student talent.
The craft room can be provided along with the arts room, as the storage of materials and stationery can be shared. The arts and crafts room can have an approximate area of about 65 sq. m., including the furniture, fixtures, tools, storage, etc. Windows can go high up on the walls to bring in maximum light, with sufficient space underneath them for storage or cabinets. Creative crafts can be made by students out of waste materials produced in the classroom, like waste paper and scrap notebooks.
The music room can provide space for vocal music and musical instruments like guitar, violin, flute, drums, tabla, etc., which can be taught to students under the guidance of trained teachers. The room can be a rehearsal space for students who have an interest in music.
The music room can have an interactive whiteboard facility that has good audio and sound systems, recording facilities, and storage for the music equipment.
A studio space
Store rooms can be provided.
A small elevated stage with orchestra space for about 10-15 students can help them perform recitals. The music room can provide work tables and chairs, as well as file cabinets for storage. The walls of these rooms can be acoustically treated and well insulated.
For a band or orchestra hall that accommodates 60 to 75 students, the room height can be between 5.5 and 6.7 metres, with a floor area of about 230 square metres. Each orchestra musician requires a volume of 16–20 cu. m., while each choral musician needs about 10–14 cu. m. Instead of rehearsal rooms sharing common walls, buffer zones can be created with non-playing areas like offices or storage rooms. A music library can also be provided that has storage for music sheets, notes, recordings, and other resources for music education.
The music room can be placed away from the administrative office and classrooms to avoid the disturbance caused by the level of noise produced within these spaces. It can be placed close to the auditorium to carry the instruments into the auditorium with ease during a performance. The doors of a music room can be as wide as 1800 mm for easy movement of instruments across the rooms when required.
The film room provides the students with an opportunity to learn to work with film equipment and learn about direction, cinematography, editing, and other processes of making a film. This room may need access to computer systems, various levels of lighting, from filming in dark spaces, to focused lighting, to complete light allowance within the space. It can also provide a space to display and watch work done by students during or after school hours.
A photography club promotes creativity through the art of taking photos, sharing and critiquing the skills of fellow students, and educating and improving technical skills. A photography club allows students to study light and composition and have a good understanding of their own equipment. The photography club may occupy an area of about 35 to 40 square metres. Typical furniture that can be provided in the photography room is:
Work counters/ tables with chairs/ stools
Light tables for viewing negatives
Special photo lab sinks
Wall cabinets for storage of film, materials, supplies, and tools
Workshops seek to enhance personal, artistic, and creative development within children. This allows them to turn abstract ideas into concrete ones. Workshops can include spaces like the carpentry room, pottery room, weaving room, blacksmith room, electrical workshop, or other spaces where people from other professions and industries can come for demonstrations for the benefit of the students. Allowing motorways within the workshop encourages the movement of students to interact and work while also avoiding close contact with the tools and machinery that may be dangerous.
The area required in workshops for 40 students is around 96 sq. m. Ideally, all workshops are generally placed on the ground floor. These workshops are placed away from the classroom blocks of the school campus to concentrate the noise levels within the workshop areas themselves. They can be placed close to common or open grounds, such that they are accessible both to students and the public.
Carpentry is one of the oldest crafts practised, which is an activity or occupation of crafting things using timber. The workshop will provide students with knowledge of the basic applications of various tools, equipment, machinery, and techniques and facilitate the conversion of raw materials into useful products and components. This will involve cutting, sawing, marking, and chiselling of the materials with appropriate tools. Therefore, the presence of a teacher or a trained professional is important at all times. The students can be given prior training before using such machinery.
The planning of such spaces involves the work area, with the equipment and area provisioned according to the number of students in a workshop. Storage can involve cabinets for storing raw materials and storage for keeping finished products. The space may be planned so that it is open to evade the collection of dust.
Pottery is the art of moulding clay into specific products. It requires the spinning of wheel equipment, which is used to mould the clay. The students have to be supervised by an experienced teacher. A pottery workshop can provide workspace for the following:
The moulding process
A damp rack to store damp products to dry
Storage for clay
A kiln for the firing process
A gallery space to display student artwork.
Students can be taught cooking as an extracurricular activity. They can be taught to cut vegetables and learn to cook simple dishes that can be sold in a cafeteria maintained by them. Workshops can also be used to train students in accounting and commerce.
Using cafeteria spaces for students to buy or sell products made by them can be implemented. They can manage the café, learn to sell their products, and keep track of their accounts. Each batch or set of students can run the café for a week, in turns. The cookery workshop can be positioned in the public zone, close to the kitchen as well as the visitor’s centre, so that the parents and other visitors can also access it along with the students and teachers.
A space can also be allocated for activities and workshops for recycling waste materials and products produced in schools. Recycling paper, newspaper, strawboard, plastic water bottles, and other household items and waste products can be done in the workshops to make handmade toys, books, art sheets, papier mache products, and scrap books.
Public Address System
A public address system is a collection of microphones, amplifiers, and loudspeakers that are used to make school announcements, mention students and teachers, and so on. This room may need furniture for equipment like computer systems, networks, and microphone systems. This room does not require a lot of space and can be placed along with the office block or the administration, where the office members have a check on the use of the equipment.
National Service Scheme Room
The National Service Scheme is a voluntary programme that inculcates social welfare in students to provide service to the society. Most government-aided schools and colleges have a unit of 20-40 students who volunteer to be trained and conduct community service activities such as cleaning, transporting amenities, donating items that are not available in villages, construction camps, literacy camps, health camps, and so on. A storeroom for storing the records and all the cleaning equipment are also required.
National Cadet Corps Room
National Cadet Corps is a voluntary organisation that recruits cadets from schools and colleges and gives them basic military training by trained officers and personnel. The motto of NCC camps is to bring unity and discipline among students while developing teamwork, leadership skills, self-confidence, character development, and the dignity of their labour. NCC camps include training in schools as well as camp training, mostly requiring the use of school grounds for parade practise. The students may need the provision of separate locker facilities and dressing rooms for the boys and girls to change into their NCC uniforms. There can also be provision for the staff to sit.
School museums are spaces where school records, achievements, etc. are displayed. They need to be accessible to all students, teachers, and alumni. If built, maintained, and updated on a regular basis, museums can be a valuable resource for school students. It can have a timeline of events at the school, information on school alumni, dates of school history, and can also display the following:
Write-up on the successful old students
Write-up on the old teachers
Records and achievements of the school
Collections donated by the students
Project work done by the students
Exhibits during the science fair, work experience fair, etc.
Student Union Office
These spaces are planned for the students to get together for organisational activities, representation, and academic support of the school. The school's office trustees and student union can meet on a regular basis to plan various activities and events. It also provides a platform for new and existing students to build a forum to communicate with and build relationships with alumni of similar backgrounds.
Education must promote creative growth. It is important that schools follow the 3H principle: head, hands, and heart. In present times, schools give a lot of importance to the head or brain, which involves memorization, problem solving, and so on. This does not encourage the overall growth of the child, as physical activity, creativity, and developing a passion are equally important. As a result, the spatial requirements and the classroom activities must be determined so that the child benefits from the school curriculum and gets support to find their passion.
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