Walnut Grove Elementary Principal Brian Proctor set high standards for the 110,000-square-foot school facility in Bargersville, Indiana. He wanted to create a place where every student is supported no matter their needs or learning styles.
Business Furniture + Co worked closely with architecture and design firm, Lancer + Beebe to bring the vision to life.
"Many spaces in a school get named or zoned for certain types of students. We wanted to be sure that inclusivity meant not just a space for every learner but spaces every learner can thrive and benefit," said Principal Proctor.
Whether students benefit from extra sensory support, they can find a place to focus, take a breath, or re-connect to their emotions, including the flexible furniture and grassy ottomans made with artificial turf.
The dedication to the project is already showing success for students like Aiden.
When Aiden started at Walnut Grove, he was non-verbal and would become frustrated when trying to communicate with teachers and his peers.
Teachers encouraged Aiden to find spaces that worked for him. Instead of gluing him to a traditional hard seat inside a classroom, he was given choices to wiggle on a NorvaNivel rocker ott or graze his hands across the grassy nodes sitting outside the classroom. The furniture and learning zone options made Aiden feel safe; he began to move the furniture into new designs that met his needs for the day- including this train setup.
Aiden's communication continues to improve; he's no longer demonstrating physical behaviors like hitting.
"This space is truly an inclusive environment," said Proctor. "We look at the options we provide all students across the facility. It allows kids to be helped; teachers can identify how the students learn emotionally and socially and support them at any given time."
Walnut Grove's Principal had the vision to change the status quo of traditional classrooms and create a place with a thriving culture, where students feel loved and accepted in a warm and inviting school environment.
The space provides a "breath in, breathe out" environment that allows students and staff to be adaptable, allowing for all types of work. The space is designed to help the kids get real-life interactions with each other, make friendships, and create a comfortable community and culture with each other while at school.
This space is open to all students regardless of identification; Brian Proctor, the principal, states, "This space is an inclusive environment. We look at the options we are providing all students across the facility. Having a desk with soft seating is okay for every kid. This allows kids to be helped; teachers can identify how the students learn emotionally and socially and support them at any given time."
110,000 square feet, 33 classrooms
Center Grove Community School Corp District
- Principal BrIAn Proctor
"We wanted to provide a learning environment beyond the traditional setup, and furniture today has many options we have explored, and we purposefully designed for our space to help get the wiggles out or let students stand up,"