I am a licensed teacher with a combined graduate degree in architecture and education, which places me in a unique position when it comes to school design. As a teacher, I have lived experience teaching and learning in a variety of school buildings and educational spaces. My graduate work has allowed me to develop an architectural lens, and given me insight into that lived experience. As a consultant I’ve been excited to develop language that bridges between the worlds of education and design.
I am passionate about the relationship between learners and the design of school spaces, especially with respect to the interactions between nature, architecture and the learners. My research on school design revealed that elements that foster a connection to the natural world, such as indoor/outdoor interfaces have a huge impact on students. Students’ spoke in detail about how these interfaces increased their sense of imagination, productivity, concentration, sense of belonging, emotional, intellectual and even spiritual well being. My research suggested that school buildings really can be a ‘third teacher’ and that nature in the built environment is extremely beneficial to students.
Since completing my masters degree, I have coordinated and edited “Re-envisioning Outdoor Learning Spaces”, an issue of The Ontario Journal for Outdoor Education and written an article for “Reconceptionalizing School Design: Learning Environments for Children and Youth”, an issue of Children Youth and Environments. I have contributed a chapter to the book The Ecology of School and actively participated in several design charrettes. Currently I am building a consultancy that advocates for innovative and biophilic educational design.