Planet Ark News - Sydney Catholic school the first in Australia to be constructed out of mass timber
Planet Ark News

Sydney Catholic school the first in Australia to be constructed out of mass timber

Date: 17-Apr-19
Author: David Rowlinson

OLA Catholic Primary School © David Rowlinson

OLA Catholic Primary School

Article first appeared in the Catholic Weekly

A Sydney Catholic Primary School has become one of the first in the country to be constructed out of mass timber. And with the sustainable and energy-efficient materials used in the award-winning design, comes a new way of teaching which empowers the students to decide how they want to learn.

Education has been turned on its head with traditional classrooms and rows of desks becoming a thing of the past. Teachers no longer sit at the front of the classrooms and there’s not a door to be seen. Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School at North Strathfield in NSW now enjoys learning spaces without walls confining them to specific areas.

Everything is visible in the school, and with no internal walls dividing classrooms, students are free to make use of all areas. Even the staff room and principals office are in full view with students able to witness teacher collaboration.

Technology is anchored at either end of each floor, with a small reading room in the centre to allow for small group or individual learning. The new design even incorporates a suspended reading net to encourage quiet reading time in a fun and welcoming environment.

Sydney Catholic Schools project manager Paul Gibson said the school has been designed to provide students with the best learning environment possible. He said students are able to choose how and where they learn, enabling them to become more independent and to prepare them for further education. “This design has very much empowered the students to make up their own mind about how they want to learn,” he said.

“Based on research out of the UK called Clever Classrooms, it really does empower the students to make learning work best for them. The overall design which is based on the research has shown the undeniable benefits of students flexible learning modes.”

Principal Catherine Young said she was very proud of the learning experience the school is able to offer. “Nothing has been built without a reason, everything has been designed to maximise the learning experience for the students,” she said.

“As a future-focused school, we seek to make the learning environments relevant to our students, all the while exercising stewardship of resources.” 

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David                                             Rowlinson

Author: David Rowlinson

Make it Wood Program Manager
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