(Created by Andrea Bergamin on Floorplanner.com)
“School is the first step to bring children to a place of healing,” said Dominique Hyde of UNICEF, (2012).
The children of Syria have been through an incredibly traumatic experience and I want to create an environment where every girl comes in and feels inspired. I want the layout to be supportive of the diverse learning needs and encourage collaboration among the girls.
The statistics show that many girls are leaving school to marry early, therefore girls are entering a new stage of life at a very vulnerable age, with no education or knowledge about what it means to get married. They become an illiterate mother who cannot read or write with their children and more than often, have very limited knowledge of basic health needs therefore the poverty cycle continues (OneGirl, 2016).
I am aware that a layout as such above, is not the regular classroom that you might see in refugee camps, full of individual desks that has the capacity to educate more girls at the one time, but how much do the girls learn in this traditional setting? Is this another reason girls don’t stay in school and get married instead? Are they not engaged in their learning? In developed countries such as Australia many schools today have opened up their walls and created open plan, flexible learning setting that encourages students to become hands on learners. This shift has seen students thrive, so I want to give the girls in Zaarati a similar experience in their future learning space.
This layout is created to engage the girls, empower them, build their self-esteem and resilience.
I have included mats where the girls can sit, lay and play on, there is a reading corner and collaborative learning desks. There will also be a technology corner where the girls can go use the e-space.
I believe play is incredibly important in children’s development as Bodrove & Leong, (2005 as cited in Early Childhood Australia, 2016) also suggest, students who engage with quality play experiences are more likely to develop greater memory and language skills, and are also better able to regulate their behaviour which consequently leads to the potential for learning later in life. Another benefit is that is encourages children to build relationships, learn to negotiate with others and increases students feelings of success as they are able to make their own choice and be responsible for their actions.
This classroom will not just be promoting literacy and numeracy rather it will also incorporate life skills, such as cooking, sewing, and cleaning. The aim is that girls have the knowledge to be self-efficient, as this promotes a sustainable life, one they can then share with their friends and eventually future children.
Another important learning space that will be incorporated into my FLS is the use of technology and the e-space.
Families all fled their homes leaving their normal life behind and many arrived at the gates of Zaarati with very little, traumatised by the chaos. Now in the camp, the children and families have lost alot of their contact from the outside world, therefore by providing access to the internet the children will have the opportunity to engage with the world around them once again. It also brings a variety of learning experiences such as creating blogs, Skype, online programs, educational games and the list continues.
The benefits are not only for the students but it also supports the teacher, as they are already at a disadvantage with resources, the internet will not only allow them to create more enriching lessons but also a support system where they can collaborate with other teachers around the world.
Early Childhood Australia (2016). Why play-based learning? Retrieved from http://www.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/our-publications/every-child-magazine/every-child-index/every-child-vol-16-3-2010/play-based-learning-free-article/
One Girl, 2016. When a girl is educated, everything changes. Retrieved from http://www.onegirl.org.au/why-girls
Image: (Wiki, 2013. Kids Africa Happy. From http://wiki.laptop.org/go/File:OlpcScreenInSunlight.jpg)