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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 11:46 pm | Fair 45º


Renovated Classrooms at Marymount Designed to Inspire Student Learning

Recent classroom renovations at Marymount of Santa Barbara have changed classrooms into creative spaces that embrace natural light, the outdoors and flexibility in teaching.

Designed to echo 21st-century curriculum and programs at Marymount, the renovations to Marymount’s second- through fifth-grade classrooms on the lower school’s historic Riviera campus have inspired and invigorated teachers, parents and students alike. Classrooms now open to outdoor learning areas and students have new furniture, special chairs and cushions that they can move to make learning more comfortable and individualized.

Marymount’s teachers have embraced the new spaces as well and are using them in creative ways. In the words of Katie Frawley, a third-grade teacher at Marymount, “Fresh new classrooms inspire fresh new ideas.”

A phased part of Marymount’s master plan, the updated learning spaces in the lower school are a sign of Marymount’s commitment to 21st-century learning and further enhance programs such as the school’s Design Thinking and STEM programs. Design Thinking is a program developed at Stanford University's Design School that pushes student problem solving ability by first helping students learn to identify problems and then helping them acquire an understanding of what the impact of solving this problem in different ways might be. By following a series of specific steps that include brainstorming and researching, students learn to find creative solutions.

In addition to the newly renovated classrooms, Marymount’s Innovation Labs, finished last year, are a key part of Rodney Lee’s, Marymount’s math and science learning specialist, innovative lower school STEM curriculum, a curriculum that many Marymount parents credit for putting their students on a fast track in math and science.

Marymount Head of School Andrew Wooden quoted a book called The Third Teacher in this week’s school newsletter, The Marymount Messenger: “We must give children spaces and lessons that foster lifelong creativity, that teach them to take calculated risks, to innovate and experiment. What does the future have in store? Only the creative mind can speculate.”

The Third Teacher is a book about the critical role school learning environments play in learning and an inspiration behind Marymount’s campus improvements.

Marymount second-graders may not be aware of all the thought that went into their new classrooms, but it is evident in watching them partake in a lively reading group discussion in their new outside classroom area that they are benefiting from it.

If you are interested in learning more about Marymount or scheduling a tour, please contact the Admission Office at [email protected] or 805.569.1811 x131.

— Molly Seguel is the admissions director for Marymount of Santa Barbara.

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