Management teams share progress, develop together
From November 17-19, ORIGINS attended the 5th annual Facilities Management Conference, co-hosted by Shanghai American School and Concordia International School of Shanghai. This year, 15 participants convened for the 3-day conference, including ORIGINS Education, International School of Beijing, Singapore American School, Seoul Foreign School, Kuala Lumpur International School, United Nations International School of Hanoi, and Jakarta International School.
Following EARCOS’ collaborative growth model, facilities management teams showcased open and collaborative 21st century educational and learning spaces and took time to share their processes, trials and successes. In each case shared, it became clear that it is equally important for schools to provide flexible, innovative spaces as it is to provide campus-wide connectivity. As we know well, learning at school does not only happen inside the classroom – corridors, staircases, open spaces, and the sports field are all spaces for learning. With this understanding, effective school facilities teams need to be aware of the changing environment within the pedagogical arena, especially concerning new teaching techniques, rapidly changing technology and the diverse learning styles of today’s youth.
The opportunity to share experiences was a key motivation for those who participated in this annual conference. Several schools shared their master planning documents, playground development progress, the trials and tribulations of installing playground equipment and developments in 21st century library. Many other experiences were also exchanged as we discussed facilities and vendor management, risk and safety protocols, and transportation.
The finale of each day was a tour of each host school’s facilities, where we witnessed interactive and collaborative spaces along the corridors, passageways, and libraries, open learning spaces with small discussion rooms within the science laboratories, learning kitchens and makerspace workshops.
Opportunities such as this allow facilities teams to learn from their peers and to better understand the limitations of the projects we undertake. This results in resource savings and faster facilities development times. At the same time, conferences like the EARCOS Facilities Management Conference provide a platform for the junior facilities team members to polish and grow their skills with experienced leaders.