The Centaur’s Classroom…

I’ve often wondered if what intrigues and enlivens the adult mind can be traced back to the ‘play’ and exploration you did as a child.

Pondering this yesterday made me remember some of the first times I was excited by school environments during childhood. I decided to make my first few Eduvironment blog posts about those memories with some ideas about what we might learn from them.

While being a Hogwarts Headmaster is my dream job, this post is about Classroom 11, the Hogwarts home of Professor Firenze the Centaur. The fifth book came out while I was Year 8 and this morning I remembered being particularly excited by Firenze’s classroom.

It might look a little like this, but more wild and natural:


It is described by Rowling in the Order of the Phoenix here:

“The classroom floor had become springily mossy and trees were growing out of it; their leafy branches fanned across the ceiling and windows so that the room was full of slanting shafts of soft  dappled, green leigh. The students who had already arrived were sitting on the earthy floor with their backs resting against tree trunks or boulders…” 

Imagine walking through an ordinary school into a classroom like  this, full of trees and natural elements. I remember classrooms that were fun, creative and exciting were always more enjoyable and I don’t think this shouldn’t stop in primary school.

Developing students capacity to think creativity can be helped by stimulus and indoor trees and plants could be an effective way of doing just that. I thought I would have a look and see what information or examples there might be online about nature in the classroom.

I have really enjoyed browsing through blogs, teacher forums and just googling ‘indoor trees in classroom’s to see what comes up. While I was a little disappointed by the lack of information, I have found this blog on creative trees in a pre-school, a ‘magical’ tree from a bloggers classroom and this article on planting fruit trees as a class project.

While plants can increase air quality, some studies (and here) have found that plants increase ‘happiness’ and school or workplace satisfaction. This great website on indoor trees also lists some of the benefits.

Trees could also create fun classroom activities such as this from Teacher Created Resources Inc.:

Bottle Tree Idea

The average indoor plants (3) and tree (1) combination would set you back around $80-$100 at Bunnings or at some of the nurseries I found online.

I  imagine that having a tree or some plants in a classroom could improve the school environment, particularly if they are incorporated into the original design. Having trees throughout the school architecture like this from Japan (see below) would be awesome.

School Tree

So what do you think? Would you use a tree or plants to freshen up your classroom in the style of the centaur? Or is it all a waste of time? Let me know!

As always, feel free to email me any ideas to or tweet @Ben_Duggan


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