Wēteri Design Sprint at Wesley Primary School – synopsis

By Diana Wilkes

The innovative team at Wēteri organised a ‘design sprint’ event to gather a range of innovative and diverse perspectives to contribute to their new school build design process. Two of our Tārai Kura Ringa Whao attended and share some of the journey with us.

Image by: Diana Wilkes

Over the last 2 years Wēteri kaiako have been on a design journey covering six areas that impact teaching and learning in new spaces, using the Planning Learning Spaces (PLS) in Practice Design Framework.

The 6 areas that impact the design of learning spaces are:

  1. Pedagogy (e.g. Learning Through Play spaces)

  2. Curriculum experience (e.g. Marautanga)

  3. Organisation of Learning (e.g. digital tools)

  4. Leadership of Learning (e.g. accessible tools/resources)

  5. Community Participation (e.g. Hall spaces)

  6. Sustainability (e.g. solar, water, waster solutions)

The process has been underpinned by recent international evidence-based research led by Terry White, that demonstrates the strong link between pedagogy and space which improves learning outcomes, and is being led by Tumuaki – Lou Reddy, and Tumuaki Tuarua – Andy Crowe.

Image by: Diana Wilkes

With Stage 1 well underway and nearing completion their sights were set on Stage 2. That’s where the ‘Design Sprint’ event came in! The Wēteri design team wanted to build on and share the great progress they’ve made, and so they needed external experts to work with our kaiako (in-school experts), to design learning solutions for Stage 2.

Image by: Diana Wilkes

The event evolved into a full day Design Sprint that was, in essence, a Wēteri flavoured PLS in Practice Design Framework workshop with a focus on output for their Stage 2 build.

A myriad of fascinating people were invited to the event with interests and strengths in the areas of:

  • Outside of the box thinkers

  • Innovative educators

  • Tech solutions

  • Space design

  • Furniture

  • Architects

  • Storage

The Wēteri design team and kaiako welcomed the support for this event from the Planning Learning Spaces Team, who were in New Zealand from the UK. Terry White is the editor of the Planning Learning Spaces publication which was released in 2019. This book launched the start of Planning Learning Spaces in Practice where both he and Bhavini Pandya (Co-Director) work together to implement the key principles from the book, by working with schools internationally.

Image by: Diana Wilkes

The nearly 50 participants representing 15 organisations (PLD providers, the Ministry of Education, business partners, architects and contractors) that gained an insight into the collaborative journey at Wēteri so far, as well as the celebrations and an understanding of the new spaces they are designing. They had presentations from the Wēteri design team, kaiako, the architects, the PLS team and engaged in breakout discussions. 

Image by: Diana Wilkes

There was a tour of the Stage 1 build with the expert H&S guidance of the construction team. Being a part of an active and innovative process made for a wonderful, engaging day for the Wēteri team and all of their invited participants. Ka rawe to Lou, Andy and their amazing team of committed kaiako!