Remuera Early Childcare Centre
Centre of Learning
The idea of building a Centre with a strong sense of sustainability whilst also being eco-friendly has always been important to me. With these concepts in mind, water has been captured from the roof and recycled for use in the water feature, gardens, and Centre bathrooms. Solid wooden furnishings are used throughout the pods with a predominance of wooden, natural and recycled resources confirming our beliefs.
We wished to make our environments at Bear Park Childcare Remuera more natural and respectful to our children and have achieved this, in part, with the use of wooden flooring, low ceilings, quiet mezzanine areas and extensive use of acoustic and insulating materials. Having the opportunity for indoor-outdoor flow, as a way to create a seamless environment for the child’s investigative learning possibilities has always been a dream of mine and to be able to see this in action is truly wonderful. With the classroom doors folded back, it is possible to create a picture frame to our outdoor spaces.
Another key aspect of the building design we wished to emphasize was the issue of transparency and visibility – the idea of making our learning experiences more visible to all, so, therefore, making these times more inclusive to the observer, whether that person was another child, a parent or a teacher. Walking through the Centre we have created this transparency through the use of glass whether it be the glass walls, doors or a window in which to see one’s friends through.
Light was another key feature we wished to experiment with. We have tried to make the most of all the natural light available to us through the use of windows at various heights and angles, as well as creating different hues of artificial light throughout the building. High south-facing windows provide an abundance of quality light into many of the spaces. The use of artificial light through the provision of spotlights, up lights, standard lamps, candles and lightboxes have assisted us in achieving this.
Another very important component for us is the many expressive languages that children use and develop in their everyday lives throughout these early years. In respecting these languages, we have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to provide spaces for the performing arts as well as classroom ateliers and a central atelier. These specialist environments are where our children can engage in the art of dance, drama, mime, music, clay, paint, wire and much more. We believe that through offering these various opportunities of expression and communication, children develop a stronger sense of self-worth.
To be able to fully acknowledge our parents and to build a stronger sense of community has also been an influencing factor in the overall design of the building. We have looked at creating spaces for parents within the pods, especially for our under twos, where parents can sit, take time to dialogue with other parents as well as their child’s teachers. Also, we have created the central piazza area that is to be the place of ‘meetings’ – it is the hub of the Centre where relationships and connections within the Centre’s three protagonists can be reaffirmed and developed.
A final key component of the design of the building was to be able to strongly reflect the various raw elements that we feel make Aotearoa, New Zealand distinct. From the materials we have used on the outside of the building – the use of concrete, brick, green glass in the windows – through to the feature walls of river stones, glass tiles, corrugated iron or brick inside in the classroom pods we have endeavoured to portray this sense of identity.
Even throughout the outdoor explorative areas, we have again transferred the elements of New Zealand that we value into these spaces through the use of water, stone, native plants, grasses and timber.
And so finally we are pleased to have the voices of children, parents and teachers making this building come alive. We know we will revisit the various aspects of our Centre and develop these further as we go along on our journey but for now, we are here and we are exhilarated.
T: (09) 520 4060
3 months to 5 years olds
90 children total
35 under two's
Bear Park Early Childhood Centre - Remuera
13 - 15 Dilworth Avenue,
7.30am to 6.00pm daily
Monday to Friday