ST Mary’s College is leading the way in contemporary early learning following the opening of its new purpose-built kindergarten learning and play space.
Specifically designed with the child’s experience in mind, the modern facility offers a stimulating and nurturing environment that is tailored to fostering play and sensory-based learning.
Central aspects of the design include bright, colourful classrooms with break out spaces that cater to the child’s current interests and which allow them to actively engage and develop relationships with others.
Adjacent to the building is an outdoor play space featuring play equipment, a sandpit, water pump and stream, ‘bird nest’ sensory tub and sensory path, where children can explore and experiment with their natural surroundings.
St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer said the new kindergarten facility would strengthen opportunities for inclusive and collaborative learning.
“It is well documented that children’s experiences in the earliest years of life are crucial to laying the foundation for their ability to learn throughout their later years,” she said.
“This philosophy is at the heart of our approach to play-based learning and teaching at St Mary’s College and these new learning and play spaces will allow us to continue to provide quality education in a state-of-the-art learning facility.”
The new kindergarten facility forms part of a major $2.5 million capital works project at St Mary’s College.
Other works recently completed include two newly renovated prep classrooms, a fully refurbished performing arts facility and the relocation of the school’s hospitality kitchen into the VET hospitality teaching space.
St Mary’s College director of business and operations Stuart Calvert said the benefits of building the kindergarten space alongside the existing prep classrooms were two-fold.
“Having our kindergarten and prep classrooms exist side-by-side provides easy access to our classrooms for our younger students, while also allowing our early learning teachers to work collaboratively,” he said.
Ms Spencer congratulated local architect, Andrew Williamson, from IDW Architecture and Interiors, along with builders VOS Construction, landscape artist and playground designer Miriam Shevland and Paul Whelan, from Earthworm Landscaping, for delivering this project for the students, staff and parents in the St Mary’s College community.
Together, the new prep and kindergarten facilities make up ‘The St Columba’s Early Learning Centre’, a name which acknowledges the site of the original St Columba’s School on which the building stands today.
Caption: The St Mary’s College community gathers to celebrate the official blessing and opening of the brand new early learning centre.