Can architects help children want to go to school in the morning?

Entrance to Walters & Cohen Architects' King’s School Shenzhen International

The first step is to listen to them, says Murray Hudson, co-editor of a new book on school design

Think for a moment what would make going to school more appealing for children. Chocolate fountains in the playground? Classrooms with water slides?

Of course, a fantasy world of child-friendly fun would have children rushing to the school gates every day, but schools are not about to be turned into theme parks in order to make them more engaging.

Architect Michál Cohen, co-director of Walters and Cohen, says the answer to motivating children to attend school is actually more straightforward: give them the spaces they need in order to learn in a way that suits them best. Then, offer them choice.

“We need to ask ourselves why do children not want to go to school?” says Cohen, who has contributed a chapter to Planning Learning Spaces, a new book I helped edit about school design which is aimed at architects, schools and local authority planners. It explores how architects, planners, staff and pupils could take a collaborative approach to design in order to come up with spaces optimised for learning.

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