Designing Education Experiences Inspired by Children's Museums

Seneca Valley Elementary and Middle School, Pittsburgh, PA

What happens if we design learning environments like children’s museums? How do we create learning environments to be more compelling, engaging and successful for students?

Seneca Valley School District is exploring these questions with their dynamic new K-6 school. The project unites our team with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh to advance bold new opportunities for school design.

When it opens in Fall 2022, the Seneca Valley school will introduce students, staff and families to exciting new ideas around how corridors and walls are used, the building and surrounding natural environment can be teaching tools, adaptability allows for constant curation of physical learning spaces, and how space can take students on learning journeys. All of these new measures are introduced at no added project costs – proving any school can incorporate similar creative environments without budget challenges.

“I think the fundamental difference is traditional school design assumes students start learning when they step inside a classroom, where museum design sees the entire building as part of the experience with learning happening as a journey,” said Anne Fullenkamp, Senior Director of Design at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. “There are a lot of positives that come from this journey approach and it’s exciting to see this school adopting it.”