Integrated Learning and Collaboration: How Kindergarten Classrooms and Corporate Settings are Alike and What Middle and High School Settings Can Learn From Them

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by Peter G. Bachmann

The kindergarten classroom is the first place many of us were exposed to a structured learning environment. My first classroom had a reading corner, a corner for messy play with sand or water, and an area for napping. This defined workspace contained nearly everything required for a fully integrated, interdisciplinary education. Many years later, when I showed up for my first day of work as an architect, everything I needed for an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to my work was there: my desk as a place to concentrate, a model shop for creative development, tables strategically located to provide a space for group discussions, and a coffee machine and water cooler where I could practice social skills.

What I found at work was a world remarkably similar to my kindergarten classroom. The interesting thing about this connection was that it ran counter to my experience of physical and instructional differentiation that occurred as I left kindergarten and progressed through primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. It was curious that as I began my career as a professional, I found myself back in a setting that encouraged collaboration, shared experiences, and an integrated approach to accomplishing a variety of tasks.