New library and continuous provision area at Bradford School
Continuous provision area turns heads
The Miriam Lord Community Primary School in Bradford called Demco Interiors to help them with an interesting project – the design and layout of a Continuous Provision Area for children in Years One and Two.
The School wanted to create a space where the principles of Early Years could be brought to students at Key Stage One. The emphasis was on creating an environment with resources to encourage the ÔÇÿinner child’ and not just focussing on formal academic skills. A holistic approach to learning to compliment traditional learning.
First decision was to find a space for this new area and eyes focussed on the school library. The Library space hadn’t stood up to the passage of time and in staffs words was ÔÇÿoutdated’, ÔÇÿdreary’ and ÔÇÿquite frankly, not used’. However, a better, brighter, brand new library, also to be designed and furnished by Demco, will be installed in its own dedicated space at the very heart of the school for use with children and families. The Lab and the new library will be officially launched in 2013 to mark the school’s 25th anniversary.
For now the Continuous Provision Area is being loved and used by all students. Michelle Hudson, Business Manager at the school, and Steven Young, Deputy Headteacher, managed the project including the initial building works and, by the time, Demco came into the frame they were ready for some ideas and support: ÔÇ£Demco made it really easy .. to be honest it was a weight off our shoulders by that stage. They came with ideas and produced designs and layouts which gave us something tangible to work withÔÇØ.
The Demco design team rose to the challenge and stepped back to see this as a very different space to a traditional classroom or library. Jacquie Smith, Library Design Consultant, Demco Interiors said: ÔÇ£This was a wonderful project for us as the school gave us complete artistic license. It was a great opportunity for us to do something different and work with a customer that was so creative and open-minded in their thinkingÔÇØ.
The Continuous Provision Area, renamed The Lab, is divided into different coloured zones; cook:eat a full equipped cookery area with induction hob and oven; a water play ÔÇÿsplish splash’ area; and ÔÇÿLights, Camera, Action’, a real life stage with coloured spotlights lights and behind the scenes changing areas. There is also a, curved, magnetic, whiteboard space where children use their creative skills to complete a task. Used by classes on a daily basis, different activities are going on at the same time; in one area children could be cooking, in another creative play; in another playing with paints and water while another group could be standing on stage hugging the footlights.
Demco designed the areas and sourced all the furnishings from split level cooking hobs, to wet play furniture to pots and pans and taps. Units were designed to accommodate children’s heights and access needs. The theatre was also designed, manufactured and detailed by Demco.
Bryan Harrison, Headteacher says: ÔÇ£The space is different from a formal learning space that the children are used to. It is a more creative place – a contextual environment where the children can learn
Bryan Harrison, Headteacher
in a different way. It isn’t about academic teaching but about language, discussion, problem solving. Our ethos is very much about the children developing their own skills to complete a taskÔÇØ.
To show how much the children loved their Lab, Headmaster Bryan Harrison recently issued an ultimatum that if children didn’t keep ÔÇÿThe Lab’ clean and tidy it would be taken away from them. The children staged their own protest with hand made banners and chants of ÔÇ£we want our lab backÔÇØ. They were given it back and it has stayed spick and span ever since!ÔÇØ
Children, staff, and parent have all left comments on the school blog: ÔÇ£Check out Year Two in The Lab developing their baking skills. I don’t know what they are enjoying more, their brand new cooking area, or their brand new aprons and hats. The Lab is turning out to be a great place for children to develop a wider range of creative skills and Mr Harrison can vouch for the quality of the buns they made – beautiful.ÔÇØ
The Miriam Lord School has always demonstrated that it can overcome challenges through innovation, creativity and a strong sense of belief in its students.
The Continuous Provision Area is a new way of thinking for a forward looking school. In the words of Headteacher, Bryan Harrison: ÔÇ£It looks terrific, it has exceeded our expectations of not only how the space could look but how it could work.ÔÇØ