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A Reggio inspired centre in Australia considers the experiences of the child in more ways than one

Designed by Towill Design Group, Reggio-inspired Brisbane-based St Pauls Kindergarten derives out of the centres' ethos that celebrates the child and his or hers thoughts, ideas and way of perceiving the world.

Every design decision considers the child.

The architects not only worked with the staff when tackling the new build, but involved the children who explored ideas through drawing.

The children's drawn ideas for their new EC centre are displayed on the windows, which wrap around the entire building.

The centre is deliberately situated within close proximity to the Primary School, thus easing the transition for the child from kindergarten to school.

The classroom employes a number of techniques to delineate the space and it's functional use. A large circular mat encourages the children to sit and play together informally, while tables are set up which focus on a particular task. The space is kept flexible with moveable furniture and partitions.

The spatial layout consists of two "classrooms" or play spaces, connected by a central kitchen, stage areas and toilets. Thus becoming the central "hub" of activity and of kindergarten life.

Furniture, joinery and furnishings simultaneously work to create a series of "zones" catering to varying moods and activities. Large vibrant retro armchairs creates a special place to sit and reflect.

The kindergarten also considers the Reggio approach of bringing the outside in. The many windows and doors create a light-filled interior, and clerestory louvred windows allow for natural flow of air to ventilate the space.

Playful details, such as the scattered coloured brick (left) and the locally made stained glass windows (right) create a sense of identity and ownership. In future it is envisaged passionfruit vines will adorn the brick walls.

Many colours (such as the locally made stained glass windows) and materials (most natural) work to create a highly sensory and tactile environment.

The outdoors is treated as an equally important space - encouraging the children to play physically, creatively and imaginatively...

Play houses encourage role-playing.... and winding pathways encourage movement.

Ropes, slides and stepping trunks improve co-ordination and test the children's physical capabilities.

Pergolas, a veranda and large umbrellas transition between indoors and outdoors - creating a multitude of play and experiential zones...

St Paul's Kindergarten successfully creates a rich environment that demands children to interact with and own as theirs - turning the Reggio "many languages of children" idea into reality.


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