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What a future-focussed award-winning school looks like.

Imagine being given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit ground-breaking innovative schools around the world. Meeting with educational experts and sharing insights was key to applying design thinking and best practice during this school rebuild.

Former Principal now educational consultant, Sandra Jenkins' parting legacy to a 50-year career in teaching, is an award-winning one-of-a-kind school. Passionate about supporting personalised learning through a future-focused pedagogy, she's broken the mould. 

The floor, stairs, tables and chairs - anywhere and everywhere is a space for learning.

Picture this, a large open learning environment with two teaching staff and 60 students. Small groups of students are sitting under tables surrounded by stools, a larger group congregates in a cubby house discussing and sharing ideas with their teacher. Three girls sit on the cool linoleum floor of the kitchen comparing notes - it is a very hot day, so they have the right idea. A few sit at ergonomic chairs scattered around the room writing on desks with whiteboard surfaces.

Children love enclosed, 'cave' spaces, and this purpose built treehouse is no exception.

Sitting, lying, in a cave or at a table, every space is a learning space here. These students may all learn in different ways and in different locations, nevertheless they all have two things in common – unquestionable engagement and self-management. Welcome to the award-winning Freemans Bay Primary School - it may be filled with treehouses and an indoor slide, however the pedagogy is anything but child’s play.

Former Principal Sandra Jenkins explains the design thinking behind Freemans Bay Primary School's learning spaces.

“there were some key principles that I wanted to bring into the design, and I was very lucky that the Ministry of Education, architects RTA Studios, and the school board at the time, were prepared to take some risks, push the envelope and be innovative in the design.”

Sandra Jenkins - Former Principal at Freemans Bay Primary School, NZ

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