An ILE design for Montessori needs - Caboolture Montessori School QLD

Published: Sunday 25 June 2017

A sunny winter day saw about 20 Queensland chapter members and guests head out of Brisbane to visit Caboolture Montessori School.

Located on a 10-acre rural site five minutes north of the Caboolture CBD, the Caboolture Montessori School offers a Montessori education program for children from age 15 months through to Year 6. The school was established in 1998, operating out of the Caboolture Historical Village with just 8 students and in 1999 moved to its current location on Old Gympie Road with 23 students and has now grown to over 180 students in 2017.

School Principal, Yvonne Rinaldi, joined Chapter Chair, Bill Dixon in welcoming guests to the school.  She then provided an oversight on the Montessori philosophy, using the binomial cube in an interesting demonstration of how the school uses this tool to introduce abstract maths concepts to children as young as 4 without them even knowing it! The early sensorial experience with the cube inspires them again at age 8 or 9 when they use the cube for algebra.

Architect Rachel Towill explained in detail the consultative process used in conjunction with the school – students and staff – through a series of workshops to develop the brief for the building, which consists of a variety of learning environments focusing on the importance of the surrounding environment and collaborative learning.

A tour of the building revealed a high set facility comprising four classrooms, break out spaces, kitchen and student amenities.  Use of natural, recycled material was a priority and is demonstrated by rich timber finishes in open areas.  High ceilings with exposed trusses painted white and accommodating services add to the feeling of space while the operable louvred walls in each breakout area meet the students’ design objective of natural light and breezes while capturing views of the surrounding school grounds.

While the undercroft provides valuable covered play space, it has also been designed for future expansion as the school grows.  Rachel explained the choice of natural ventilation over mechanical and how this decision was agreed with the school community.

The building design created much interest amongst the visitors who took the opportunity to discuss things further with Rachel and Yvonne over drinks after the tour.

Article and event photo: Mike Keilly