It's becoming more common for teachers to take elementary school students outside to get a math or science lesson—especially in places like California, where the state hopes to add a garden to every school. But a new design takes the idea of the school garden further: Instead of a small plot on the corner of a playground, the entire school is a farm.
"We think that kids should enjoy nature," says Edoardo Capuzzo, one of theRome-based designers who won a recent architecture competition for their concept of a preschool farm. "So we designed this strange school: No classrooms, but open spaces where vegetables grow inside and animals can come in too. It's a mixing of the two things, school and nature."
Capuzzo, along with co-designers Gabriele Capobianco, Jonathan Lazar, and Davide Troiani, realized that young children are naturally drawn to study plants and animals, and that the school could take advantage of this—and amplify it—to make children more engaged. Numerous studies point out the benefits of learning in a garden: Kids are more likely to remember what they study, test scores go up, and, after seeing where vegetables come from, students are more likely to want to eat them at home.
In addition to learning based on the plants and animals around them, the students would also learn about technology like wind and solar power that keep the school running.
"We tried to make a different way to learn,"…
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