Collaborative spaces around Wakefield provide students with stress-free zones


Staff Photo by Maya Schindler

The collaborative spaces around the school offer students a quiet place to work with each other on assignments. Spaces like these are great for students’ education and teamwork skills.

Maya Schindler, Staff Writer

When we think of school, we tend to think about the solo tests and classwork we do to strengthen our education, and one thing school requires is immense focus and attention. This requirement is not always easy when school days feel repetitive within the similar-feeling classrooms students are in for ninety minutes, four times a day. With these repetitive aspects students experience day after day, it can get pretty overwhelming and stressful for them. While most schoolwork is meant to be done solo, some of it is also done in groups and pairs, which can actually take off some of the stress felt when completing work. 

Wakefield High School is fortunate to have three great collaborative areas that offer students quiet places to get out of class and work on assignments together. John Smith is a media coordinator at the school and finds that collaborative spaces are essential for students to have. 

“Having a space where students can go to work together in small groups or in partners is really important,” Smith said. “It gives them a chance to witness what it’s more like in the real world.”

These collaborative areas have a variety of seating, including flexible and interactive seats, that offer students some enjoyment when working. These types of seats have great benefits, such as keeping students more focused and alert when in class. Many teachers have adapted to more flexible seating in their classrooms, including Kelly Foster. The animal science teacher has interactive seating in her classroom and has noticed a positive change in her students with the new elements. 

We wanted to find a way to engage students socially and emotionally on a learning level, but also a place they can come to and relax.

— Smith

“[My students have gotten] more interactive,” Foster said. “They’re able to pay attention and listen more than they did when they were sitting in a chair.”

Many staff members agree with the idea that students should get out of their desk chairs once in a while to do some interactive activities with other students to keep them engaged in learning. One way teachers can do this is by sending students to the collaborative areas to work together and to use the interactive seating there to keep them focused and relaxed. 

While the first and second floors have collaborative areas, the third floor does not. But, that doesn’t mean teachers on the third-floor haven’t found ways to work around that. Christina Bradford, an English teacher on the third-floor, enjoys taking her students out of the classroom to do more interactive activities to keep their minds active.

“We normally use the locker bays for stations or gallery walks,” Bradford said. “If it’s something I need table space for, then we will go down to the library.”

The library has also adjusted to this collaboration movement by adding the “Creation Station” to its space. This area in the library has a variety of supplies for schoolwork, like markers and crayons. Along with school supplies, it offers many activities like puzzles and building toys. When creating the space, librarians Joyce Deaton and Smith wanted to make it feel like a space where students can unwind from the stresses of school as well as have all the supplies they need to do their schoolwork. 

“We wanted to find a way to engage students socially and emotionally on a learning level, but also a place they can come to and relax,” Smith said.

The Creation Station has been a hit among students because of the peace it offers upon entering the library and the welcoming environment it holds. Senior Valentin Hernandez-Galguera regularly uses the Creation Station and enjoys what it has to offer.

Students work with the materials the Creation Station provides for some stress-free activities. (Photo Courtesy of Joyce Deaton)

“It’s a safe place to let your mind loose and let your creativity run wild as you create whatever you want,” Hernandez-Galguera said. 

All of these different spaces in the school, as well as flexible seating, are great ways for students to have learning and schoolwork become more of an enjoyable task. Going to these spaces with classmates can be a great way for students to learn from each other and work together in a safe and quiet environment. 

Joyce Deaton, the media coordinator and co-creator of the Creation Station, is really excited for the station to get discovered by people and grow. 

“We’re [always] interested in donations and ideas,” Deaton said. “We would love to make [the Creation Station] a place that students enjoy using.”