Thursday, August 9, 2018

From NPR —
The Design Of Childhood
How The Material World Shapes
Independent Kids, by Alexandra Lange

From NPR : Alexandra Lange's interest in school design started in her childhood, when she read Little House on the Prairie, with its indelible depiction of Laura's one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin. 

Today, she's an architecture and design critic. Her new book, The Design of Childhood, considers the physical spaces where our children learn and grow: from the living room rug crowded with toys, to the streets, welcoming or dangerous, to classrooms, bright and new or dilapidated.  

"I felt like a lot of the contemporary discussion about education was really focused on content," she tells NPR. "In that really tight space in front of the kid's face. And as someone interested in design I'm always interested in, what kind of room are you in? How much natural light does it get? What kind of materials is it made of? What kind of a chair are you sitting in?" 

One of the most contentious issues in education today is how much our schools have, or haven't, kept up with the times. The physical plants of schools represent the biggest capital investment in the provision of education, so they tend to stay in use as long as possible. And, Lange's book shows how everything from the dimensions of a room to the height and placement of windows can make certain kinds of learning easier or harder. More at