If teachers, students and parents could design a school campus, what would they create?
We spoke with JUDY COOPER, Principal at Nexus International School, about the school’s unique new campus that’s set to open in January of 2020.
Who designed the new-look Nexus?
We have been very fortunate to work alongside architects Broadway Malyan to help design our dream campus; however, our whole school has been involved in the process. Teachers helped design the innovative learning spaces. Our Aquatics Director designed an amazing aquatic centre with an Olympic-sized pool and state-of-the-art time-keeping touch pads. Our Health & Physical Education team designed the field and gym halls; the Music Department collaborated on the recording studios, jam rooms and mixing room; and the Arts Department created space for kilns and exhibitions. Our staff know what spaces they need to teach, what our children need to thrive and even what parents need to best support their kids. This school has been designed for children by the people that spend their days working with them.
What will the classrooms look like?
Nexus is known for its different approach to teaching spaces – we have very few walls! Similar to the way adults work – moving from a coffee shop to a desk then into a meeting – our children work in a different manner depending on what they’re learning. This allows for individual work as well as small and large group work. Whole Year levels can come together to plan a slumber party, for instance. The furniture is flexible and can be moved around; we are even trialling giant touch screens on wheels. There are exhibition spaces for children to present their work, design and technology rooms to integrate STEAM into the lessons, and kitchens for setting up cafés to use for French lessons or to explore maths ratios in recipes.
What’s this we’re hearing about a multi-storey treehouse?
We are building a three-storey treehouse around an eight-metre tall tree. We chose it because of its large canopy, which will provide a wonderful mottled shade for the students.
The lower levels of the treehouse have slides and climbing nets as well as access to our massive outdoor play space, with tunnels, sandpits, play towers and rope bridges. The mezzanine level has hidden undercover areas for quiet reading, crafts and mindfulness. The upper level provides over 150 square metres of space, perfect for active outdoor learning for up to four classes! The treehouse links to our Nursery and Kindergarten learning garden via a bridge, so even our youngest learners get to enjoy the magic of our treehouse.
The new campus is twice as large as your current one; does this mean that Nexus is moving away from its small school roots?
The building is taller, and we will have more space, but Nexus will continue to have a wonderful “small school” feel. This is because we are a family school. Our open-door policy is why you regularly see parents at school; we’re keeping this as we believe it takes a whole family to build and support a child’s education. We’re working with our parents to design the Parent Lounge, so they can grab a coffee together or plan barbecues for those big Saturday sports competitions. We also have a shared workspace, so parents can send emails and even see clients after drop-offs and before pick-ups.
Now accepting applications! Spaces are currently open for kids from Nursery to IB levels (three to 18 years).
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