St Francis de Sales College Reception to Year 6 and Alive Catholic Early Learning Centre new facilities have been named a winner at the 2021 Learning Environments Australasia South Australia and Northern Territory Awards held on Thursday 11 November.
From a field of five finalists, the recent College build of Early Learning to Year 6 facilities won the New Construction/New Individual Facility over $8m Award, and then was subsequently declared the overall winner of the SA Awards for Excellence in Educational Facilities.
The educational brief for the project was founded upon an overarching aspiration for learning environments to be embedded in nature, with the built and natural environments brought together to positively impact on learners’ wellbeing, confidence, creativity, and spirituality. The project aimed to create continuous indoor and outdoor spaces that provide endless opportunities for discovery.
The judging panel, comprising educators and architects, described the project as “a clear winner”.
“A clear winner for all of the judges, this submission showed a comprehensive educational planning process that included extensive community consultation, student engagement and the use of an educational planner. The documentation of this process and the resulting educational objectives was thorough and thoughtful. The work put into this early of the phase of the project clearly paid off, with all objectives evident in the design outcome.
The scheme demonstrated extensive opportunities to implement contemporary pedagogical practice including team teaching (in pairs), the opportunity to move from theory into practice with the use of a shared maker space and the provision of direct access to a large covered outdoor learning area, well connected through large openings for each paired learning space.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is very well applied, with the design capturing truly child centred spaces with plenty of opportunities for hands on learning and connection to nature. Furniture has been designed with an educator to respond to different teaching and learning modes and to cater for different ages. Student voice is clearly present throughout the space with clever treatment of windows at child height to allow for additional display space above and the natural finishes allowing students and their work to shine throughout the spaces.
The integration of environmentally sustainable design and a genuine connection with the hillside setting and nature overall is both intelligent and heartfelt, bringing both sustainability and improved learning and wellbeing outcomes.”
We acknowledge contributors of this project, in particular the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, Catholic Education South Australia, Catholic Early Years' Services, Brown Falconer Architects and the secondary consultants, Rider Levett Bucknall Quantity Surveying, BADGE Constructions and past and present staff, students and friends of the College.
To tour the facilities call 8393 1000 or to register online go to stfrancis.catholic.edu.au/book-a-college-tour.