Kindy Kids explore their senses in an award-winning Reggio Emilia environment

Published: Sunday 25 October 2020

The Queensland Chapter recently hosted a webinar on the John Paul College Kindergarten on Thursday the 8th October.

John Paul College’s new kindergarten building and extension was joint Overall Winner in the 2020 LEA Awards for Excellence in Educational Design.  The project imaginatively reflects the principles of Reggio Emilia — an Italian approach to teaching and learning — within an Australian context.

Reggio Emilia is an early learning education style that values children as capable and resilient. It emphasises hands-on discovery learning that allows children to actively engage all their senses, guided by educators rather than directed. The kindy environment was intentionally designed to be like a “third teacher” (after the teachers and students), supporting the children’s imaginative capacities to express themselves in many ways.

We were joined in the webinar by Leanne Zammit – John Paul College, Cameron Davies – Director at Deicke Richards and MagdaMyszkowski – Interior Design Manager.

Leanne delivered the post occupancy results using the slides of the children learning within the spaces that were designed, be it, the corner Ateliers, Nest and Burrow, or outside within the garden or water play. The unplanned play with stain glass shapes leaning against the windows that created shapes of colour on the floor as the sun shone through. The slides displayed the children interacting with all their senses.

Cameron spoke about the building being the next step in the school’s masterplan that DR undertook. He went through the urban planning and the connection to Reggio Emilia thinking and how that was carry on through to the planning of the spaces within and outside the kindy.

Magda went through the concept imagery that related to the Reggio Emilia philosophy. The use of materials and colours of materials that provided the opportunities within the interiors for the children to explore themselves and senses.

It was wonderful to see the process that the overall team took in collaborating through the early stages of planning and seeing how that turned into fruition. The approach taken with the concepts for the interiors following the Reggio Emilia philosophy can be seen in the spaces throughout the kindy.

The delight was seen on the faces of the whole team with the end goal being the smiles on the children’s faces as we saw them interact with the spaces inside and outside the kindy.

View the webinar here

Well done to John Paul College and Deicke Richards in conjunction with Aspect Studio and Bligh Tanner.

Article: Kevin Miles, State Managing Partner, Gray Puksand

Images: Photographer Mindi Cooke