PHILIPPINES. The Manila Times (09 May 2023) - A team of young interior design students from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) has enhanced a monograde central school in Pasay City through a renovation project that offered a multisensory learning environment for children with special needs.
The project involved the team, which adopted "sibol" — Filipino word for "growth" — as its rallying cry, providing the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TechVoc) Room of the Villamor Air Base Elementary School – Special Education (SPED) Center with a refreshed space that encourages students to embrace their unique characteristics as they go beyond their capabilities and even reach their full potential.
This complements the school's mission to equip students with lifelong skills in a diverse and technologically changing world, and empowers them to become critical thinkers and values-oriented individuals.
"We give emphasis in the development of their lifestyle," the team said. "By utilizing accessibility, multiple senses and usable design, we built an adaptable space to [inform] their livelihood with experience and direction."
To improve concentration and productivity, the team refurbished the 58-square-meter room with an "organic" theme. Its new color scheme promotes a calm environment, and reduces stress and distractions, to create a sense of safety and unity. Tree-like acoustic panel lights made of gypsum boards are mounted for sound absorption. It also has multiple storage solutions for personal belongings and learning materials. First-aid kits are also on hand in this section.
The Learning Station — the main space for lectures, arts and crafts, and other class activities — features multipurpose desks that can be separated and combined for both individual and collaborative learning. This setup addresses challenges in communication and focus, and should improve students' social skills and productivity.
The Culinary Area — which features spacious counters — guides users on basic cooking, baking and food preparation, as well as cleaning tables and washing dishes. There is also a sari-sari store-inspired stand, where they can sell the food they prepared and hone their skills in handling finances.
Students can practice folding sheets, fixing bed linens and maintaining rooms at the Bed-making Area, or be trained in indoor gardening at the Plant Station. This nook comes with grow lights for added illumination.
To foster visual learning, the Interactive Wall makes spelling fun. Another structure, the Wall Mural, showcases images of fruits, vegetables, cooking utensils and gardening tools to help students familiarize themselves with important everyday equipment.
Each station has labeled arches and color-coded floor tiles for wayfinding. Doorbell lights are positioned beside the entrance and exit doors to guide deaf students when someone rings or enters the room.
"We're excited for the learners to experience this new space and to see how it will positively impact their learning journey," said the team, composed of Karen Alcozer, Sofia Barrion, Alyssa Belda, Patricia Chua, Nicole Enriquez, Shannina Go, Lauren Khoo, Teresa Lagdameo, Ynes Manguerra, Nianne Nabor, Henome Pascual, Elaizza Puntil, Angelica Jane Reyes and Ranelle Yulo. They are under the mentorship of IDr. Maria Celiza Sim.
The budding designers held various fundraising events, including bake sales, heritage walks and raffle draws, to generate funds for the renovation project and to foster community involvement.
The project began on March 20 and the renovated room was turned over a month later.
For more information about DLS-CSB's Interior Design Program, visit www.benilde.edu.ph/undergraduate-interior-design/
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