Last month Ramski and Company had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend the EDspaces Conference & Expo for Innovative Learning Environments. EDspaces welcomes Designers, Architects, Facility Planners, as well as school administrators to share new discoveries in education design.
This year’s venue gave us the unique opportunity to learn about hurricane Katrina, the devastation of community, and the ways New Orleans has been recovering. It was a great learning opportunity to see how the community has recovered the public school systems (which we learned were in much need of help even before the storm) by chartering schools for rapid development and creating an entirely new administration system.
Along with educational programs, EDspaces features the new educational products on the manufacturers showroom floor. As educational designers we are always looking for innovation to assist us in creating learner-focused environments. Here were some of the most interesting products we noted for environments nurturing Early Childhood Development.
VS AMERICA, Puzzle Lounge Seating
The Puzzle lounge from VS America is an alternative style lounge chair system that is available in various shapes/bases/heights. New to the collection is a version that sits flat on the floor making it easier for students to move. When multiple pieces are used at once they “link together” to form different shaped clusters. We love furniture pieces like this that accommodate alternate learning postures. Perfect for Learning Hubs as well as Media Centers for quiet time activities, and good for casual group learning environments. (Image Source)
CERTWOOD, Stor System
Storage systems are essential to an educational environment full of classroom manipulatives. Certwood specializes in bin storage with multiple bin sizes and color combinations. Bins can be clear or opaque finishes with and without lids. Carts for the bins come in wood or metal. Units can be customized in height and width and have caster options. We witnessed the strength of these bins when the representative turned one upside down and stood on it, he even gave it a little bounce! Mobile bins can double as seating with the addition of cushion tops. All of the bins are available with different inserts, organizers and labels that can be easily removed and replaced. Designers and educators alike will appreciate this product for its flexibility and organizational benefits. (Image Source)
Joy Carpets and Company
Early childhood development is all about making organization and following directions fun. The floor is a wonderful extension of learning space and these rugs are instructional and fun, the perfect inspiration for group learning combining activity, creativity, imagination and organization.
And another resource — Angeles Infant and Toddler Essentials
For very young learners, Angeles offers lots of sturdy equipment. We especially liked these trikes and the stacking cots with soft rounded edges that form space dividers while being stacked and stored and provide a maker play station for toddlers.