Guardian Childcare CentreMartin Place NSW Australia
The Guardian Early Learning model is based on the Reggio Emilia learning framework. This approach of self-directed learning and exposure to risk taking embeds itself into all of the Guardian centre fit outs. The spatial arrangements are loose - to enable children to engage at their own pace with their environment. Equally, spaces are not segmented or ‘out of bounds’, thus encouraging children to interact across all age groups rather than a rigid compliance to their class environment.
Guardian childcare commissioned SJB to prepare a concept for their Martin Place childcare centre accommodating 78 children under 5 years of age. The tenancy fit out located in the Central Business district of Sydney has limited outdoor space and in order to adopt the Reggio Emilia framework for spatial arrangement, indoor spaces needed to take on an outdoor feel. This was achieved with the provision of natural outdoor elements such as the forest with green walls, faux grass, rocks and a sky ceiling. The design also sought to provide intimate spaces for ‘little people’ to enjoy, such as rooms within rooms with recognisable ‘cubby house’ profiles, to contribute to the children’s sense of exploration and creativity. The root base and welcoming hollows at the base of a fig tree inspired the natural timber housing of the ‘toilet block’ along with child sized storage, all contributing to the sense of ownership for the children in their daily play space.