What would it mean to St. Thomas to have more usable space? Ronna Papesh has taught Sunday School here for years, so we invited her to write about it. But Ronna had a better idea – she asked her Sunday School class for their ideas. Here’s what they had to say.
“During our first class, the 5th- and 6th-grade Sunday School students discussed the idea of making St. Thomas spaces more usable. We defined some of our goals for attending Sunday School and then generated a list of challenges our current space brings to our learning. We went on to brainstorm solutions to some of these challenges.”
They say the walls are a problem!
“The walls are not very sturdy and we can’t lean on them. One of our walls has been broken forever. Sound goes right through the walls. It is sometimes hard to hear each other because we can hear noises from other classes. We also have to try to be quiet in our activities so we don’t bother the other classrooms around ours. Today we did a “Crescendo Prayer” and maybe that got too loud when we got to Amen (but it was fun).
We can’t decorate our room because the walls have to be able to fold up whenever someone wants them to, and stuff doesn’t stick on the walls very well. Tape is useless. Ticky-tack won’t work. Tacks almost have to be hammered in. Our room is a boring color.”
Some solutions from the students –
“Replace the folding walls with real walls that are well insulated. Make the new walls with metal in them so we could use magnets to hang up our work, posters, and decorations. Or cover the walls with the soft part of Velcro so we can stick the spiny side of Velcro on our papers. Or make the walls out of cork so we can hang stuff up with pushpins. We want to be able to put our stuff up all over the room, not just on a little bulletin board. That way every one else can come and see all the cool stuff we have been doing in class. Pick nice colors for the walls and floors. We vote no grey.”
Light and power are issues, too!
“We don’t have any windows or natural light. Our teachers usually only turn on half of the lights because the ceiling lights are very bright. We only have one power outlet in our room.”
Solutions from the students –
“A skylight or solar tube would give us natural light. Then we might not need to turn on the lights at all, and that would save electricity. We will still need to be able to turn off some of the lights or have a dimmer switch. Put a power outlet in each of the new walls so we don’t have to step over extension cords when we use equipment. With more outlets, maybe we can use more computers and electronics for class.”
The carpet has definitely outstayed its welcome. Also, it’s cold in there!
“Replace the old carpet. Is it older than we are? The carpet is scratchy to sit on. The rip in the carpet isn’t very safe. We would like our room to be a comfortable temperature for class. Sometimes our room doesn’t warm up until class is over.”
Some ideas from the students –
“We would like a cozy room. Somebody will need to think about [heat], especially if we have new insulated, solid walls. And a cold floor wouldn’t be too great to sit on. A carpet, rug, or heated floor would make our room cozier. Put in a soft carpet or big area rug. We like to sit and work on the floor a lot.”
And they add –
“We are glad St. Thomas members are thinking about making this a better place to be and learn.”