Creating Space to Grow
Heart of America transforms educational spaces into modern learning environments so students and communities can learn and grow. This includes:
- Learning Environment Transformations include spaces large and small with a critical look at how a room or an area is currently used and how a new design, infusion of additional resources such as technology and books, and new furniture and decor can create a modern learning environment for the whole school community
- Libraries and Literacy Makeovers spaces include school or public libraries, reading rooms, classrooms, teacher prep spaces, and even sensory rooms to engage students in active learning
- Health and Wellness Transformations focus on spaces that fuel the body and mind such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, athletic wings, and even outdoor spaces
- STEM/STEAM Spaces feature Tech Labs and Tech Corners, College and Career prep rooms, Makerspaces, Science Labs, and much more
- Online Resource Drives through our Books from the Heart® program with the opportunity for sponsors to select a community and engage employees to provide resources (books, e-books, technology) to an under-resourced school.
20 years of experience and experimentation has taught our Heart of America team how to design vibrant learning spaces. How? By orchestrating a true community effort incorporating the following six steps:
- LISTEN: Listen to the stakeholders who use, work in and manage the learning spaces to understand how and why they use it; ask what would elevate their learning, what would make their jobs easier?
- INVENTORY: Catalogue current inventory of furniture, technology, art, materials; who are the users (demographics, languages, occupations, etc.) and who is missing from this space?
- OBSERVE: Watch traffic flow, note the types of activities that take place in the library. Where are the active or quiet places? Is the space conducive for multiple types of learning styles, both solo and group?
- DREAM: Think and design BIG with facility stakeholders and community members, reimagine new learning environments, create an equipment and resource wish-list, and brainstorm and sketch out an ideal space for all users.
- BUILD: Engage local funders, donors, sponsors, partners who live, work and grow in the community; utilize local trades, artists, designers to build the dream.
- NOURISH: Continue to update resources and assess the progress of the space with community stakeholders and engage school partners.