North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
School Design Principles

The North Vancouver School District is designing schools with maximum flexibility for teaching and learning today and for the future. A core feature of this involves conceptualizing school design in a manner that optimizes our ability to celebrate and support student diversity. This document originated from comments collected at the New School Design series of workshops held in February 2016. Our hope is that it will evolve as our understanding of teaching and learning grows.

Maximum flexibility and adaptability for today and the future:

    • the design reflects current understanding of the diverse ways in which students learn but it is also flexible enough to adapt as that understanding evolves
    • there are spaces designed that allow for transition from large group, small group, and individual activities
    • a variety of learning and teaching styles are supported, consistent with foundational principles of inclusion
    • every space is potentially a gathering and a learning space, where First Peoples Principles of Learning are evident


Healthy, sustainable and accessible environment:

    • a healthy, safe and accessible environment is provided for all users
    • learning spaces are designed with sensory awareness , including natural lighting, temperature control, ventilation, sound field and acoustics
    • there are provisions for outdoor learning and physical activities
    • it is a pleasure to learn, teach, work, play, eat, and socialize in these spaces
    • the building incorporates and visibly demonstrates sustainable and accessible design concepts
    • the building is durable, low maintenance, highly energy and resource efficient, and reduces operating and maintenance costs


School Community connections:

    • the design promotes a feeling of belonging, a sense of community and a celebration of diversity
    • small learning communities provide a home base, serve as a gathering space, and enable students to gather in different sized groups
    • all learning spaces are designed to support inclusion
    • learning spaces allocated for specialized support are dispersed throughout the building 
    • the design acknowledges and promotes Indigenous ways of knowing