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A new centre in Brooklyn is delicately designed to feel like an extension of the home

Pale maple timber, blank white walls (to take the children's' art) and spots of colour all work together at this preschool situated on the second floor of a new tower to create a cohesive and calming space which does in fact feel like an extension of one's home.

Three classrooms catering 16 children each are arranged linearly with sliding pocket doors connecting each. At the end of this arrangement is a multi-purpose shared space housing a flexible "food-truck like" kitchen which hosts a daily "cafe-time".

Semi-open bathrooms are positioned between the classrooms with surfaces covered in porcelain-tiled grey-muted blues and greens.

Inter-connected sinks, one of which cantilevers out to the classroom makes for a nifty water-feature and easy clean-up after messy eating or games.

The architects, Alexandra Barker (of BFDO Architects) and Priya Patel (of 4|MATIV) won over the existing Maple School (who were looking to expand their premises) and developers of the tower Hudson with their proposal that reflected the centres' ethos of being an "extension of the home".

"Where co-operation and involvement are emphasised, where each child is nurtured in a warm and caring atmosphere and where curiosity and play are central to learning."

It is truly comforting to see steps being made away from the institutional and towards architecture that nurture their young inhabitants.

Via Dezeen, Architects Newspaper and Metropolis.

Castle & Cubby

It was the kindergarten pioneer Friedrich Froebel who noted (in 1893) “play [as] the highest phase of child development”. Going on to elaborate that “play at this time is not trivial, it is highly serious and of deep significance… The plays of childhood are the germinal leaves of all later life.”

It is a notion that is often ignored (or forgotten) as lives get busier and “free-time” is spent sitting in front of some “techy” device. It is promising therefore that there are those who are beginning to rise against allowing this new “norm” - with movements popping up such as forest or “outdoor” schools, adventure parks and playgrounds, and in the creation of back-yard “cubbies” such as these picturesque examples by Melbourne-based ‘Castle and Cubby’.

Kellie and Jonathan Stores began their ‘Castle & Cubby’ business when pregnant with their second child and were inspired to create sustainable (so no bright plastics!) products for their little people with BIG imaginations.

Above, a farmers market inspired cubby.

Made from (mostly) recycled apple crates, their products aim to inspire kids’ imaginations by providing a space for them to mimic the world they live in. Having two young ones means they are constantly inspired as they watch the real-life games enacted by their kids - they are always creating, designing and testing new ideas in the backyard.

As Kellie says: “We are passionate about creating spaces not just for children but for families to connect and be reminded of what good old fashioned outdoor fun is.” Activities that inspire sharing, role-playing, interacting, creating stories and dreams. The cubbies, whilst each being uniquely hand-crafted have taken the form of farmer’s market producers to grocery shopkeepers and baristas, beach ice-cream carts and more.


site by Ana Degenaar