OWIS Nanyang - How does a child's learning environment affect growth?

Michelle Dickinson
Updated on
August 11, 2020


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The right learning environment is crucial for children, as they must feel safe and nurtured in order to feel confident in their creativity and ability to learn.

At OWIS, we are very proud of our new and beautiful ‘Nanyang Campus’ and the approach we have taken to transcend the everyday classroom to create a space where children will thrive. From our green wall ‘Waiting Area’ to the canopy of colours that burst forth at the top-most level, we combine elements found in nature as we set your child on the path to making their mark in the world. We give your children the tools to support and nurture the ecology which surrounds them.

How Design Influences Learning

It’s widely known that elements in nature influence your mood and certain colours can contribute to a learning environment in all kinds of positive ways.  We have a colourful world map exhibiting unity and instilling acceptance. It interlinks the foundation of OWIS, where diversity and multiculturalism are at the heart. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? It truly is.

Level 1 echoes the colours of flowers. The yellow sunflower, green chrysanthemum, and orange orchid are all represented from the lift to the canteen. Floors are earthen colours of grey and brown to reflect the fertile ground in which your child’s learning experience will blossom and grow. The floor tiles and pebble washed corridors lead to classrooms and specialty areas. The Administrative Offices carry forth the theme in brown, grey and green, with accents also inspired by the colours of flowers. All of these areas bring nature indoors, reminding us all how intertwined the indoor and outdoor world really are.

Level 2 is where you’ll find acute inspiration drawn from rivers and streams as blues, grays and browns flow forth. The corridor floors are grey-based with different shades of blue cascading their way to-and-past classrooms. The lift, as well as the classrooms and our multi-purpose hall, reflect the aquatic theme of peaceful blue rivers and vinyl floors of earthen hue. It is the rivers, streams and oceans that bind our world, so it is important that we bring this into the school environment. Water is what gives the world life and we are able to find deep calm being surrounded by its colour.

Level 3 is in a class of its own. The patterns and colours here reflect roots, as they secure themselves in fertile growing conditions. We believe the idea of rooting oneself in such a holistic learning environment provides the comfort and freedom of a strong educational foundation. With a stable foundation, your child will feel free to explore his/her creative side and learn without limits. They will be able to grow into the person they wish to be, while remaining strong and supported throughout.

Level 4 provides a sheltering canopy which is repeated in the colours and patterns throughout this highest level. Leaves and fronds form an encompassing presence, without inhibiting growth and potential. As with all of the design throughout our Nanyang Campus, Level 4 fosters lifelong learning for all of our students.

A Simple Design Language

Our design concept at OWIS is a fairly simple one. We built the Nanyang Campus as a reflection of the world around us; to inspire, nurture, and educate your child in ways that encourage and stimulate while providing a sense of belonging which allows your son or daughter to feel safe to explore. We integrate the natural world in all we do. We encourage our students to develop their understanding of nature and we support them in this by surrounding them with opportunities to gain this knowledge. Appreciation of the natural world is foundational for our students. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” A quality education needs to plant roots in fertile ground in order to change the world for the better. Our students will be at the forefront of changing the world to make it a better place. They will care for each other and the environment around them. They will educate other generations and allow their voices to be heard. At OWIS we water their imaginations and enjoy watching them grow from young seeds into beautiful, strong and kind individuals.  

Please Contact Us today for more information, or to Book a Tour. 

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About Author

Michelle Dickinson

Head of School

Michelle has a BA (Hons) in History and South Asian Studies from North London University and PGCE from Middlesex University. She began teaching across all three primary key stages. Michelle began her school leadership career in 2002, when she became the Deputy Head Teacher of a large primary school in North London and spent four wonderful years there before relocating to India in 2005.

Her first international position was the Head of Primary of a local/international school in Bangalore in Southern India, where she introduced the Cambridge International Primary Programme and Checkpoint. Michelle then spent 6 years in China and 3 years in Ethiopia developing curriculum and assessment practices.

Michelle believes that children learn best when they are having fun and are engaged in practical, real life activities. While she recognises that outstanding academic achievement is the ultimate goal, she feels it is just as important to build self-esteem, instill character and encourage a global outlook in every child. Michelle believes that learning transcends the classroom environment and is passionate about educational visits and extra-curricular experiences.

Michelle is married with four children - Ana, Hindya, Bille and Markos. The Dickinson family have a sense of adventure and love of life. They particularly enjoy the outdoors, family holidays, making friends, good weather, camping and exploring and are delighted to be at OWIS.

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