WeGrow School in New York City

Looking for early education environment & architecture inspiration? In this article, we’ll look at this project to see how it aligns with early education philosophy, how the design facilitates learning, the activities that would suit these spaces and we’ll look at how you can use elements of the design as inspiration for your own service.

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Brief Overview of the Project

The WeGrow school, located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, is the first educational center run by WeWork, a brand primarily known for its shared workspaces. The school, which opened on 5 September 2018, caters to children aged three to nine. The architecture firm BIG, with offices in New York, London, and Copenhagen, was commissioned to design the school.

Alignment with Montessori, Steiner, or Reggio Principles

The WeGrow school is designed to align with the Montessori approach to teaching. This method emphasizes educating children through play and interaction with their environment. A hallmark of the Montessori approach is that it typically does not segregate children based on age. The design of WeGrow reflects this philosophy, with an open-plan classroom and a variety of furniture to accommodate diverse activities.

How the Design Facilitates Learning

The design of WeGrow is both playful and structured, aiming to foster a child’s education through introspection, exploration, and discovery. The open-plan classroom is equipped with furniture suitable for activities like play, reading, yoga, dance, athletics, and martial arts. The design aims to counteract the compartmentalization often seen in traditional school environments, emphasizing the importance of an interactive setting for children.

Design Features that Aid Teachers in Creating Inspiring Lessons

The school boasts several unique design features, including:

  • Curvaceous wooden structures for children to explore.
  • Suspended pods with steps leading to elevated interiors.
  • Large round cushions in varying shades of green for activities like reading or meditation.
  • Grey pillows scattered throughout, resembling large pebbles. These design elements, inspired by nature, allude to the school’s weekly trips to a nature preserve and farm, providing teachers with a rich environment to craft engaging lessons.

Activities and Lessons Suited for This Space

Given the design of the space, the following activities and lessons would be ideal:

  • Interactive reading sessions in the wooden dens.
  • Meditation and mindfulness exercises on the lily-pad-like cushions.
  • Physical activities like dance, yoga, and martial arts.
  • Exploration and discovery sessions within the curvaceous structures.
  • Subject-focused lessons in areas like math, science, social studies, and language arts in the private nooks.

Incorporating Elements of This Design in Other Kindergarten Environments

Teachers planning their kindergarten environments can draw inspiration from WeGrow in several ways:

  • Embrace open-plan classrooms to foster interaction and reduce age-based segregation.
  • Incorporate playful and interactive furniture that encourages exploration.
  • Use natural elements and colors to create a calming and inspiring environment.
  • Design spaces that cater to both group activities and individual introspection.
  • Ensure that the environment aligns with the teaching philosophy, whether it’s Montessori, Steiner, or Reggio.

In conclusion, the WeGrow school’s design by BIG is a testament to the potential of architecture in shaping educational experiences. By blending play with structure, the space offers a conducive environment for both learning and teaching.



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