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Making Learning Spaces That Inspire and Engage

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Educator and thought leader, Dr. Jennifer Jones is the founder of Green Ivy Schools. She is a thought leader in education innovation. One of Jennifer's key innovations is her classroom design. She recognizes the importance that architecture and design can play in enhancing the learning experience. Dr. Jones feels that surroundings make a huge difference in children’s engagement.

Dr. Jennifer Jones

Dr. Jones has designed her schools with bright, beautiful colors and many communal areas to engage and inspire her students (photos below). The classrooms are outfitted with wall to wall white boards for “surround sound learning,” and the walls between classrooms are designed to fold away, to bring two class groups together to combine ideas. There are no desks, not even at the middle school level; only large tables for communal learning. Through her careful curating of the entire academic experience, Ms. Jones is closing the gap between what parents' ideas of traditional teaching and education are and a new world of integrated education that includes real-world, hands-on applications and an atmosphere full of bright, beautiful colors.

‘Creativy' Lab–art/tech wall…materials soon to be in every classroom to integrate into learning
Common area of Pine Street School-beautiful and uplifting area for kids to enjoy; they work here often on projects

Beyond the surroundings, Jennifer’s signature innovate approaches and commitment to student engagement are reflected throughout the curriculum she has developed. For example, elementary and middle school students learn about circular economy, sustainability and mandarin. Preschoolers and kindergartners learn Mandarin and Spanish and she has adapted The Learning Beautiful program, that teaches the basics of computer science and support an understanding of coding, logic and computation to younger children.

Green Ivy students learn subjects and skills not offered in traditional schools that have meaningful applications to the real world and equip her students to thrive in an evolving marketplace. Jennifer is passionate about changing traditional methods of teaching. Kids don't raise their hands at Green Ivy Schools…they speak their minds as we do in conversation. Teachers are learning to teach in new ways.

An Evolution to New Ways of Thinking, and Teaching

Jennifer began her career as teacher and felt frustrated with the curriculum and the lack of children's engagement. This frustration set her on a path to redesign curriculum as well as the actual infrastructures of 21 schools across the country on a consultancy basis. Over the course of her career, she led the introduction of laptops to classrooms across Puerto Rico. She also inspired, designed and executed a unique program for the Young Presidents Organization in Thailand that offered participants an extraordinary range of unique learning opportunities. Ms. Jones has accomplished many exciting educational projects like these, including the establishment of her own school system, Ivy Green Schools, which consists of The Pine Street School and the Battery Park Montessori School.

Dr. Jennifer Jones is changing foundations in education, retraining teachers to teach for integration of technology and real-world applicable subjects, as well her inspiration behind her philosophy. In her classrooms, you will never see kids sitting in rows, just listening to lectures, you will always see a free flow of ideas in even in the youngest of classrooms. Wouldn't it be great to see more of that in our schools?

Schools don't have to be industrial looking and grey. A beautiful atmosphere stimulates, engages and makes the kids want to be in school!

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