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The importance of the learning environment

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Everyone is a learner and learning happens everywhere. So what’s the role of the learning environments at school?

The environment plays a fundamental role in promoting and shaping holistic and meaningful learning. Environments focussed on the learner and on cultivating a strong image of children as expert learners give all children the opportunity to find their passion and explore their potential. 

For this reason, St. Nicholas School keeps moving beyond traditional classroom design, creating environments with greater flexibility and stronger alignment with our pedagogical beliefs.


How the environment makes learners feel is hugely significant in their growth and progress.

Children need safe and welcoming environments that respect and celebrate diversity where all members are individually valued. Spaces where learners are comfortable to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them.

Supportive environments help learners develop self-esteem, resilience, the ability to accept and face frustrations, and develop a growth mindset.

At St. Nicholas, we are focussed on designing environments that address socio-emotional aspects of development and that best align with our Mission.


Agency is central to our learning community. For this reason, we have environments that build on learners’ sense of themselves as central agents in their learning journey, building on individual interests and personal needs and connecting to passions and previous experiences.

Learning environments in Primary School

In Primary, we have designed new learning environments based on our in depth knowledge of our learners, our pedagogical beliefs and the philosophy of the IB. Flexible and attractive that spark curiosity, wonder, enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

These are custom designed spaces that allow children to create and discover, exchange ideas, receive instruction and apply enduring understandings. An environment that promotes a strong sense of community and makes great learning visible for all.

We have a combination of flexible and attractive, learner focussed environments that strengthen our learning community, stimulate inquiry-based, transdisciplinary learning and that promote communication, collaboration, creativity, innovation, action and reflection.

  • Spaces that focus on one-way communication for larger group instruction, presentations, performances and learning from others and presenting learning;
  • Spaces that promote group work collaboration, discussion, storytelling, learning from experts and learning with others;
  • Individual spaces, for quiet, focussed learning and concentration, calm reflection and learning on their own;
  • Open co-working spaces that promote interactions, the exchange of ideas, the opportunity to be inspired by others or meet collaborators and share learning;
  •  Spaces which facilitate practical and real-life learning, making, building, constructing, creating, cooking, innovating, experimenting, hypothesising, prototyping, designing and testing;
  •  Spaces which promote vertical community interaction, physical movement, collaboration and play.

Learn more about our new Primary learning environments:


Here at St Nicholas we are at the forefront of world education. See what other schools around the world do: