Pupils design ’dream school’

Grade 7 Emma Lategan and Grade 11 Riyago Maartens are excited to be among the first batch of pupils at Curro Durbanville’s Klipheuwel Road campus.

A year’s worth of sketches imagining a “dream school” are slowly becoming reality for Curro Durbanville pupils as they see their ideas for a new campus take shape on Klipheuwel Road.

Construction of the new campus, about 5km from the school, started in January. It is expected to house 1250 pupils when it opens in January next year.

Curro Durbanville’s principal, Riaan Stroebel, said they had asked Curro’s pupils and teachers to present their own designs for their new school.

“This approach ensured that learners are truly at the centre of the new campus design.”

Landseer Colleen, of BPAS Architects, explained that the pupils presented their ideas with drawings and building models and offered various proposals and initiatives that they would like to claim as their school.

Carlia Greyling, from the Class of 2020, said their inspiration had come mainly from visual, kinaesthetic, reading/writing, and auditory learning styles.

“The goal was to be as creative as possible and put our wildest imagination onto a piece of paper.

“We thought of a practical station where the children can sit on yoga balls and work since they don’t learn as well when confined to one space for too long. An auditory station will have earphones and a tablet/laptop with access to additional videos about the work/pre-recorded classes that they can listen to.”

The visual station includes a space where pupils have access to a whiteboard to make additional notes.

“A reading station will have additional printed material which includes the work that was discussed in class. They will also have a ’quiet corner’ in the form of a mini library where they can sit on beanbags and read/work.”

She said they had used this approach because a pupil was so easily labelled as naughty when in fact they simply battled to learn in a standard teaching environment.

“We felt that we wanted to give everyone an even chance at absorbing the information.”

The pupils used open spaces and greenery to promote an environmentally friendly learning environment.

The design proposals included an art classroom, which opens into an atrium that can be turned into a gallery that shares the space with a cafeteria.

Carlia said it had been a challenge to design something that was tangible and realistic.

“We were told not to be simply ‘realistic’, but as creative as possible. No idea was too drastic. We struggled at first to realise that we really can think of anything, because we still wanted to present them with ideas that they can truly use.”

The journey from head-scratching ideas and rough sketches with her classmates had been a rewarding experience, she said.

“It has been an unreal experience to create and visualise what any learner’s ’dream school’ would look like. I am excited to see this dream become a reality.”