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Transform spaces to transform educational practice. Rethink the educational spaces: environments and spaces for learning

Educational innovation and quality in education

But Catalina Ribas

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Description of the advice

In recent years, experiences in Early Childhood and Primary Education have been generated in our context, initially focused on a new organization and distribution of the centre's spaces, but which involve methodological innovations and important educational changes. There are already many centers that incorporate work by environments in their project. This proposal for the transformation of spaces implies in many cases a rethinking of the educational project, so that the school is transformed into a more open, flexible and dynamic system. In the educational plan, the use of the concept of environment is transferred to the optimal conditions for learning to take place and then we refer to the “learning environments”. Understanding space as a learning environment refers us to the stage where favorable conditions for development and learning are generated. However, the proposal of work by environments goes beyond a simple reconversion and use of spaces. It involves organizing space, time and resources in a way that achieves a richer space, smaller and more heterogeneous groups and this allows us to expand the opportunities for experimentation, research, play and relationship. In the face of the new challenges of change and the processes of educational innovation, we must consider redesigning the spaces so that they are at the service of the educational project. We start from the conviction that the transformation of spaces also accompanies the educational transformation, and that spaces are fundamental to creating appropriate contexts for learning and well-being. The advice aims to accompany schools in the reflection, creation, implementation and evaluation of educational environments and spaces. The aim of the advice is to provide support and training in Infant and Primary schools in relation to the design of teaching methodologies related to learning environments, as well as to encourage evaluation processes in relation to the transformation of educational spaces in the centers as an element that enhances the processes of educational innovation.

We thus propose a training project that can be structured in 3/4 phases and that can be developed over three school years: approach phase, implementation phase, consolidation phase and communication phase.

Experience of the group in research and advice on this topic

The Group for Advice and Innovation in Educational Areas for Welfare has recently been set up, made up of members of GITED, the UIB Art and Education Research Group (GRAIE) and members of the IRIE associated group. Early Childhood Education Research Group, coordinated by Dra. Maria A. Riera.

The members of the group teach in the studies of Degree of Infantile Education in matters related with Strategies of Educational Intervention, as well as in the area of ​​Artistic Expression. Therefore, the didactic update and the approach to leading educational models is a commitment that we assume in our professional task. From this commitment we have been creating bridges between the initial training and the continuous training of the teaching staff. Some members of the group have a long experience of collaboration with the Ministry of Education and University in training programs in centers, as well as giving courses and presentations related to the subject. The group has participated in and directed research projects focused on the analysis of good practices in the Early Childhood Education stage, the quality of educational contexts and the design of spaces. Recently, with the participation in the international research of the National Plan of I + D + I: Curricular Design and Good Practices in Infantile Education - EDU 2012-330972 (2012-2016). For some years now we have been collaborating with the Teaching Centers of the different islands, giving presentations and advising centers in relation to the implementation of work by environments and the processes of educational innovation. During the 2016-17 academic year, the group has collaborated with the Ministry of Education and University and has advised more than ten Early Childhood Education centers with this program.