St Monica’s Primary Wodonga: Ichthus Centre 5-6 Learning Space

The leadership team and Years 5-6 teachers at St Monica’s Primary School are extremely progressive in their educational approach and pedagogical delivery. No.42 Architects worked with these educators and the whole school community to develop a learning space with a range of interlinked learning settings designed to support individualised constructivist learning. Taking its name from the Christian fish symbol, the heart of the architectural plan is a fish-shaped Ichthus glass bowl with transparent walls that permit views into and through the space creating a visually connected learning environment. Encircling the fishbowl is a range of purposeful learning spaces that support distinct learning modalities. Bold colours and a range of different furniture types are used throughout the environment to emphasise the individual characteristics of each learning setting.

The inextricable link between pedagogy and space evident in the design of the Ichthus Centre is the result of detailed interrogation of the pedagogical environment the teachers wished to create. During the process Ken Woodman discussed the design with teachers, students, and parents. Prior to final occupation of the building he explored the ways each setting could be used with the teachers.

Assistant Principal Jacqui Partington said "My original view that space was just a facilitator of teaching and learning has been significantly challenged. I could not have imagined that the space created by Ken Woodman would have transformed our teaching and learning to such a degree. The pedagogical hum that is present in this building is an indication of the physical environment meeting the student’s learning endeavours.”

St Monica’s Primary Wodonga, Ichthus Centre, Years 5-6 Learning Space was awarded the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International, Victoria Chapter of the Australasia Region 2011 Award for Outstanding School Renovation/Modernisation Under $1 million.

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