Intergenerational and Interconnected Community Learning: A Mixed Use Model

Our current model of education, and the place where learning occurs, intentionally separates children and the outside world from one another. It’s a model based on the linear idea that students must learn stuff before entering the “real” world rather than one that uses the real world as a powerful learning tool. It rarely takes advantage of resources, professional expertise, nor community members willing to assist with the learning of young people that are beyond the facility’s boundaries. It’s a model that never actively invites learners beyond traditional age groupings to learn alongside younger learners. Our intergenerational and interconnected model for community learning challenges these constructs by actively and intentionally building more connections between students of all ages and the outside world. This session will explore what a facility would look like based on an educational model where:
• Learning process is bi-directional: Students of all ages will utilize the facility and grounds for access to coursework, tools, resources, and professional educators. Students will also participate in experiences outside the facility regularly (and perhaps for long durations at time), in local businesses, libraries, museums, parks, colleges and universities as part of their formal training. Local entities will supplement the professional educators within the facility to offer industry-specific insight and expertise on a regular basis. Those same local entities will have access to coursework, tools, and resources that could aid in the professional development of their workforces.
• Learning is intergenerational: elders will be welcomed to gather, exercise, recreate, learn, and mentor younger students and vice versa…even participating in the same lessons whenever possible.
• Pedagogies both within the school and in the outside community are grounded in active learning experiences.
• Learning experiences are personalized to the individual’s developmental progress and not necessarily strictly based on their age. …and that includes features meant to strengthen the connections to the local community such as:
• A Farmer’s Market
• Restaurant(s)
• Community Gardens
• Rehearsal and Performance Venues
• Indoor and outdoor play areas
• Micro-residential units
• Exercise facilities
• Offices and Start-up Space

Learning Objectives:
1. Think deeply and differently about the connection between learning and community.
2. Reimagine planning concepts underlying public school facilities in the future.
3. Explore what community assets strengthen the learning experiences of all ages.
4. Create new organizational paradigms for facilities associated with life-long learning. 

Jason Boone, ALEP, Assoc. AIA, MCPPO, Educational Facility Planner, Dore + Whittier Architects
Jason has nearly twenty-five years of experience as a classroom teacher and educational facility planner. He is a leader in the A4LE organization and serves in several different capacities. Jason facilitates Harvard Graduate School of Education's Learning Environments for the Future. He holds a bachelors of science in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Masters of Architecture degree from the Boston Architectural College. He is also an Accredited Learning Environment Planner.

Donald Walter, AIA, MCPPO, Principal, Dore + Whittier Architects

Mike Pirollo, ALEP, Educational Facility Planner, Dore + Whittier Architects

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

LearningSCAPES 2021

October 14-17
Hyatt Regency | Denver, CO