The Early Learning Education program at St Michael’s Grammar, Thomas House Kindergarten, is exceptional. Based upon the Reggio Emilia pedagogy, the approach can be described as student-centred and constructivist, utilising self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments.
The Kindergarten Preschool is accommodated in well-appointed buildings, but the outdoor areas have long needed to be upgraded to allow the program to be brought outside and extended over the school year. Despite limited and unsuitable spaces, the Early Learning Community partakes in lunching outside, informal play in the sandpit and cubby, and basic gardening experiences with pots and containers.
A new central deck area is envisaged to accommodate these activities, with the addition of much needed storage. The deck is sheltered by a new all-weather canopy, whose generous proportions and sweeping arc lift the eyeline of the structure. There is an emphasis on a palette of warm natural materials, soft curves and stimulating textures in the design. The project also involves rejuvenating the soft landscape to complement the new deck area and enrich hands-on learning possibilities for the Early Learning Community.