Hedge and Hallways

Hedge and Hallways Hedge and Hallways


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A custom-crafted wooden wall of child-sized nooks, dens, seating areas, slides, steps, and benches, the Hedge is a vital part of the Backyard that is home to the Pre-Kindergarten, Montessori, and Kindergarten areas.

Each Kinderhaus – the self-contained kindergarten-sized rooms for our youngest learners – opens onto the Hedge area. Each small cavern and cubby is named for an animal and its natural habitat, and each features a true-to-life size-and-shape silhouette of an animal to be found in Northern Virginia.

 

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Discovery Elementary School, VMDO Architects

 

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The hallways and corridors of Discovery are not a silent place. Unlike traditional schools, where hallways are passages between rooms that serve largely as containers, our hallways are learning environments, equipped with bright and open spaces, configurable furniture, digital technology for sharing and collaborating, and writable surfaces and erasable paint.

 

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Wide open floor areas have hosted a variety of hands-on and authentic projects, as the entire school lends itself to “maker” culture, allowing us to construct, deconstruct, and manipulate real-world objects, and leave things set up for long periods of time to connect not only disciplines, but learning opportunities across days.

 

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Our corridors are colored and themed around Wayfinding. Each area serves as a distinctive learning environment in and of itself.

 

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For example, in the Forest hallway, sustainably-harvested native Virginian hardwoods form the shape of trees, each labeled with an icon that corresponds to its species. Signage in the hallway allows students to compare the leaves they find to the icons, and identify the species of both the tree from which the leaf came outside as well as the wood in front of them here in the hall. Life-sized silhouettes of Virginia-native animals populate the forest, and correspond to similar icons, displaying information about each species. Directly overhead, the Atmosphere hallway features the same for airborne animals.