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a toolkit for k-12 school design

The Learning Environments for Creativity Toolkit is a result of extensive research into how children learn, how creativity works in a developing brain, the existing conditions of school facilities in the United States and the direct influence those spaces have on the way children experience the world and ultimately learn to think creatively.

This Toolkit aims to educate those invested in improving educational facilities, from educators to architects. Elevating the conversation about school architecture happens both with the architects and with the educators. If educators have a better understanding of how the space they occupy influences their students, they will push for improved facilities, this Toolkit provides a foundation for that conversation. As the research continues, updates will be made on this site as well as in the book as appropriate with new editions.

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The Students

Student testimonies demanding more Capital funding for better facilities in front of the Washington State Senate.

The Teachers

Teachers effort to engage students in restrictive physical environments.

The School District

Superintendents asking for evidence supporting the impact of facilities on students.

The Community

Communities across the country struggling to pass bonds for new schools or modernizations because of lack of understanding and lack of resources demonstrating the significant of environment on learning outcomes.

The Policy Makers

Politicians asking for evidence to support  funding schools in a new way.

The Designers

Designers reaching evidence based design and receiving resistance for non-traditional approaches to school design.

How to use


Look Inside


Designing environments for creativity is not simply about picking parts from a catalog. It is about ensuring a holistic intent centered around the learners and their needs.


The intent of this Toolkit is to provide a concise set of evidence based principles and strategies for designing environments that support student engagement and nurture learning and creativity. The information is intended for a wide audience.


Students, teachers, parents, school administration, district facility staff, politicians, architects, designers and the community at large who are invested in improving the state of schools in the United States can learn from this book. Significant change requires a movement that includes everyone involved.


This Toolkit provides a base knowledge, backed by research, to ignite a conversation and enact change moving forward. The information outlined in this book aims to educate stakeholders and help the designer create better spaces for children, their health and well-being, and their ability to learn and be creative.  


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Section 1 introduces the project, the research and the inspiration for this project. It provides information for the case study used throughout the book, including information from the site about how they use their space, photographs of the existing spaces and the design intent of the case study. Note the case study is a real school, but a hypothetical design.


Advocate + Educate outlines a holistic approach to learning environments for creativity, both from an educational perspective and physical environment. This section is the ground work for the conversation that is taking place in communities, school districts, and state governments. It is the foundation for understanding how the education system and  subsqeuent built environment impacts student’s learning, wellbeing and creativity.

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Section 3 outlines best practice strategies for architectural components of school design, organized to fit the typical design trajectory. These strategies should be integrated into a project as early as possible. Depending on the project goals and state of existing facilities, some principles and strategies will become higher priority.

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The design strategies in this section range from big-picture concepts to specific details and fixture selection. While each have specific information and needs associated with them, many of the strategies overlap and blend together. The success of the project relies on interdisciplinary participation and active listening to the needs of the school, students, teachers and clients.

Toolkit Structure
Toolkit photograph from above
Available in Paperback and E-Book

International availability of printed book subject to Amazon distribution. E-Book is available to everyone. 

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