On the front of the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) international conference, a group of Disney fans and the curious gathered at Disneyland. After all, when your conference is held near one of the most magical places on earth, you must take the opportunity to connect to your childlike self and get inspired by a brand you grew up with. A few of us may have walked in as sceptics to the magic, but we all left as believers.

Layout: Image plus Paragraph

Layout: Image plus Paragraph

Layout: Image plus Paragraph

Layout: Image plus Paragraph

Conversations around dinner at Blue Bayou, the Pirates of the Caribbean indoor restaurant that feels like it's outdoors, based on the deep blue sky with paper lanterns spotting the black night sky, explored what we as learning space designers could do to embed the inspiration Disneyland had instilled in all of us into our own work building schools.

When asked what one thing each of us could do in our work, based on this experience, Liz Katz, NAC Architecture, Seattle, said “I will consider the impact a transition space can make. At Disney, the transitions [waiting in line] was part of the destination. It was thoughtfully designed to intrigue and delight each step of the way.” Her call to action was putting more thought into the transition spaces in her school to contribute to the overall learning experience, and ensure all spaces reinforce the school’s mission and personality.

An impression was made on Steve Murakami, OAC Construction, Seattle, by the feeling he had upon walking through the entry gates. “I could feel the joy and wonder for what was to come. Stress, what stress?” The call to action and question he posed back to the group was, “What if we could build this into our learning environments for our teachers and students?”

This was the final call to action we left the day with. For each of us as contributors to learning space design to pay attention to the details, the moments, that add up to a much larger experience. An experience all of us share in some way and carry with us throughout our lives. We each have a responsibility for future generations to design intentionally and thoughtfully, to truly make lasting impressions on students, teachers, and the staff and communities that visit our learning spaces through their lives.

For more information on our Education segment, click here.

View the Joy Squared Collection

Learn more about this LVT collection here.