The Learning House
It is the Municipality of Høje-Taastrup, located in the Capital Region of Denmark, who has build The Learning House - which includes day care, school, after-school program and junior club - in the new urban district Nærheden in Hedehusene.
The English translation of the danish name Nærheden is Nearby. When the district Nearby is fully developed, there will be 8,000 residents spread over 3,000 homes with a short distances to everything that is needed in everyday life, including shopping, public transport, leisure facilities, school and children's institutions.
The Learning House, located in the heart of Nearby, is a facility where children and young people can play, build, problem-solve and develop ideas in well-designed learning courses. A facility where the children's curiosity and creative urge are taken seriously and nurtured all the way through their schooling.
It is house where the children and students explore topics focusing on science and technology and where the subjects work together in the process of authentic and innovative projects. It is a learning facility that oozes with experimenting projects - more like a design laboratory than a traditional school - where entrepreneurship and creativity are some of the cornerstones.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions - email@example.com +45 43 35 21 40
We meet the future trends in society through project-based learning. The realistic and innovative projects and tools where our children and young people work exploratory and find solutions, create increased commitment, curiosity and motivation.
In addition, it strengthens their ability to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative. Important competencies in the changing and high-tech life and jobs that await them.
It all starts in our day care, where they also make use of the children's curiosity in relation to the outside world and their urge to unfold and try ideas. Here, our children and adults explore themes for a long time both in play, by working with all kinds of materials and by going on trips and more.
By going in depth with an idea over a longer period of time, we help the children to bring their knowledge from yesterday into play in tomorrow's activities. The children thus have the opportunity to build on top of themselves, share and feel competent while trying out new ideas.
We are actively involved in our surroundings and is in close dialogue with the local community. We are a so-called Open School, where companies, organizations, cultural and leisure institutions are invited to collaborate in realistic and innovative learning processes.
The professional understanding and motivation of our children and young people is strengthened in the open school because they meet the professionals of reality, including their knowledge, experiences and real issues. In three short sentences, open school is about:
- Motivation - To use real issues and role models to arouse students' curiosity, drive and desire to learn
- Knowledge - To connect theory and practice through authentic learning processes
- Innovation - To work idea-developing with a target group or a customer.
Among other things, students become better at asking questions, grasping issues and coming up with solutions when they meet role models and strong professionals from the surrounding community.
One day with Matteo from 5th grade
Matteo arrives motivated for the school day, together with the other students, and hangs his clothes and bag in the wardrobe for 5th grade. He knows the others from his grade well. There are 5 min. for the school day to start so he finds his good friends with whom he talks in the common area.
When the school day starts, he and the rest of his class meet with the teachers in the class base. The teachers create a safe learning environment with clear expectations for the school day's program, which he has heard a bit about before and read about on the intranet Aula.
Afterwards, they start with the school day's program. Matteo works with his inherent curiosity and creative urge in a project-based course around health, which 5th grade are working on. First, Matteo and his group discuss in a small niche how they move forward with their project. They eagerly draw and write on the glass walls to capture their ideas. Everywhere you work in The Learning House, architecture talks to you. The walls are used for exhibiting finished projects, creative brainstorming or inviting with small niches for quiet contemplation.
Later, they move on to one of the many FabLabs along with the rest of the class. Matteo and his group are in the process of cutting out some wooden boards to be used to build a model of an electric scooter. They are in a hurry, because the finished model must be presented to a local company tomorrow.
The FabLab is a room that makes it possible to make models and prototypes using various tools. A laboratory for invention and discovery. In the room here are different computers, each with special software, a laser cutter that can make 2D and 3D constructions, a 3D printer, a vinyl cutter and a lot of different materials.
The teachers do a lot to ensure that Matteo and his peers achieve greater self-confidence and independence in the school day through knowledge and professionalism in the project-based course.
Halfway through, they take a longer dinner break, where Matteo and his class eat their food with the teachers in the canteen. In addition, Matteo and his group have had several short breaks when it fit in, during the day.
After the lunch break, where everyone has been out and getting some air, they return to the common area at their base. In the adjoining workshop sits a small group from the 6th grade. They are putting the finishing touches on their sketches of bridges. Their math teacher helps them make the drawings goal-oriented. Some students are working on a drawing program, and in the corner, two students are building a prototype of a suspension bridge. Matteo hopes that they will do the same at some point.
Now they get guests visiting as part of their open school collaboration. Two health workers from the municipality must teach them about exercise and a healthy diet. Through their professionalism and experience, they help Matteo and his group complete their presentation. Many different solutions, materials and constructions have been tried out, and now the last things need to be in place so that the groups are ready for their presentations.
A german speaking person is coming to the presentation tomorrow, so at the end of the day, they translate their speech into german in one of the immersion areas, where there is silence and the opportunity to relax before going to the junior club or home.
Contact the School principal
Casper Madsen, school principal, feels that it is a natural process for the primary school that it must develop as the surrounding society changes. According to Casper, it's very much about students' motivation.
“Studies show that teaching must be scaffolded and framed in a certain way, and it must be adapted to a certain level where the necessary help is available. There must also be variation in forms of work and teaching, and the students must have an active role where they are allowed to do things with their hands.”
He emphasizes that the teaching must also be more realistic and authentic. When these conditions apply, the teaching becomes more exciting, meaningful and educational, and thus more motivating for the students to participate. The focus is, among other things, on developing a new learning environment.
"A much needed different and exciting everyday life awaits in The Learning House. But the new house also places new demands on employees and management as well as students and parents, and it requires time, focus and patience when we create this new learning environment.”
“The Learning House is a school, so of course the academic must be the focal point, and not the project of the new school itself. However there must be no doubt that we will take new paths in our ambitious pursuit of achieving our goals of higher well-being and better academic results. We will set the agenda in Denmark.”
Before The Learning House Casper was school principal of Præstø School and Sorø Private School. Before that he was head of department at Skt. Joseph's School. He has a master's degree in public management and is also a trained teacher. If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact Casper - firstname.lastname@example.org +45 24 91 72 57.