Paula Jamieson is Assistant Principal of Te Akau ki Papamoa School in New Zealand and currently facilitates a dedicated Makerspace where every teacher and all 700 students get the opportunity to code, design, make, create, tinker and reflect.
As this space was a renovation of an existing building we needed to make the most of what we had. Structurally a length of the load bearing bay walls had to remain so these were then utilised as ‘designated’ areas eg High Tech, Low Tech and Making.
The size and flexibility of furniture within this space was also vitally important as all learners would use the space and we needed to be able to move furniture around with ease.
There are 4 or 5, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) based challenge stations operating at once in this space.
Our New Entrants and Year 1’s rotate to complete all tasks giving them the opportunity to experience all disciplines thus developing and igniting their passions.
All other Year groups, 2,3,4,5 and 6 choose their station during each session, these are often interdisciplinary.
We also facilitate lunchtime LEGO clubs, ART clubs and run passion driven projects (we currently have a Year 3 group building an Igloo and a Year 5/6 group turning spools into ‘directed play stations’).
When choosing furniture for this space we specifically looked for quality, flexibility (eg heights and suitability for what age levels) and adaptability (we needed pieces to be used in multiple ways).
We also needed a company that could custom make furniture for us as we had a clear idea of what we needed but knew this was not available as standard.
We saw this space as being fluid and the furniture within it needed to adapt to constant change and rearrangement to be fit for purpose.
Our experience with Woods (and more specifically with Mark Divehall) was positive from start to finish.
I had a very clear picture in my mind of how I wanted the room to look, right down to the colour palette and Mark not only found what I wanted but also challenged me to think differently and consider other options which I appreciated.
When both students and adults walk in to the room they comment on the colour of the unit and when they slide the boxes out from underneath with their lockable wheels they are in awe of the functionality and I’m thrilled to see my concept come to fruition thanks to Woods.
I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Woods to other schools.
Educators are busy people and to have a company that have an extensive range of quality products and are great communicators, who show up when they say they will, who deliver when they say they will and who actually go the extra mile, what more could you ask for?