The Future of Learning in Clongowes
On May 6th this year, the long-awaited new learning centre opened for the Third Line boys. The Bellarmine Centre is named after Saint Robert Bellarmine SJ, an Italian Jesuit born in 1542, Patron Saint of Religious Education and a Doctor of the Church. It is located on the site of the former Third Line Study but in terms of its design and philosophy, it is a world away.
The vision behind the development of the Bellarmine Centre is to provide a space that is flexible so as to accommodate different learning styles of students; it is a warm, bright and comfortable area that offers a suite of possibilities for students that include:
- Flexible, open seating on large tables
- Study pod seating with overhead lockers for students who need a fixed place
- Collaborative pods for project work
- Learning Support Centre
- Computer Lab
- A ‘messy’ art room
- Music practice area
- Social spaces surrounding the study area
- A model /peer–observation classroom intended to promote professional collaboration among teachers
The Bellarmine Centre is a bold statement that reflects the Clongowes philosophy on the future of learning and acknowledges that the needs of students in this era are different from those of the past. The world has undoubtedly changed, technology gives us all access to information instantly, and the challenge for our young people is now, how they use that information creatively and work together collaboratively.
It is an exciting time for educators and students alike and testimony to the attractiveness of the Bellarmine Centre is that shortly after the doors opened in early May, seats were not only filled by Elements and Rudiments but also older students who enjoyed the light- filled, fluid spaces. It has long been the ambition of Clongowes that study spaces would be occupied according to the nature of the learning rather than the age of the learner, and to see this change happen organically is a wonderful development.
The transformation of the former Third Line Study to the Bellarmine Centre was made possible by the Clongowes Foundation which led the fundraising efforts. We are grateful for their work and the generosity of the donors who understood the significance of the Centre for the school.