St Monica’s Primary Wodonga: Early Learning Centre

The early learning at St Monica’s Primary follows a Reggio Emilia approach that is a play-based pedagogy. This there is range of different learning settings that fully supports the different learning experiences that the students encounter and desire.

Following the desire of one of the teachers to have a boat in the building a ‘Library Cabin’ was developed under the newly exposed highlight. The feeling of a boat was developed with boat shaped lime washed weatherboards, light ‘portholes’, a wall of book shelving, a boat shaped curved blue couch, an extracted fish table, and the natural highlight filtering through the newly exposed roof trusses with coloured ‘sails’ between. There is a step up to the Library Cabin which is at the heart of the Centre but it is intimate and enclosing. However, it is linked directly to the other areas of the Centre.

To the north there is a Drama space with a small stage, and solid or shear curtains, and a Construction space next to a wet area for art and cooking. To the south are two group work areas with interactive whiteboards and couches. Between these four spaces are two glazed meeting spaces and a tiered inquiry space. The entry has a social couch to encourage parental interaction.

Jacqui Partington, Principal: ‘We understand the environment to be critical element of children’s development and learning. Ken was instrumental in co-creating a clear vision of the space within the space that we had not dreamed of. For example, the incredible library cabin which the kids have nicknamed the “Pirate Ship”. Fitting with our philosophy it will serve as a provocation for another group of children who will see something different in the space. This allows for true creativity.’

Caelan, Student age 6: “When I walk through the green door, I feel kind of special.”

This project was awarded by the Council of Education Facility Planners International Australasia Region.

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