In the zone at Edge Grove School
Ben Evans, Headmaster at Edge Grove School, discusses their preschool's new purpose-built facility
Learning environments in education are changing beyond all recognition today and the new Edge Grove preschool facility is no exception. Gone are the traditional classrooms and in their place are new cutting-edge learning zones, all inter-connected allowing free flow around the building, independent choice of activity for children and an exciting, bright and modern environment that is both engaging and innovative.
Different muted colour shades on the walls and floors promote a calm atmosphere with lots of natural wood and quality lighting to ensure maximum learning in the most pleasant and refreshing environment possible. Edge Grove’s new preschool building also includes a Stem Zone – this comprises a science kitchen, sinks, fridges, induction hobs and cooking utensils; not to mention science equipment to inspire experimentation and learning.
From this area, the room leads on to a computer suite and a construction area. Circle upholstered and illuminated nooks have been built into the wall for children to nestle into with their favourite book – a chance to rest, relax and be on their own in the midst of a busy day.
The toilets are located centrally and can be accessed independently from both downstairs zones ensuring that children are independent but still supervised. There is also a Creative Zone; with a splash of bright red, this area is full of resources for art, craft and learning. Horseshoe-shaped tables allow the teachers to work with small groups and also in collaborative learning. A large walled area has been incorporated for the children to draw to their hearts’ content.
We also have included a large room upstairs with a 75-inch interactive screen, musical instruments, role play areas and lots of space for music and movement – an area for physical development as well as creative play. A ceiling-mounted projector will illuminate the floor with different colours and shapes to enhance the zone and sensory experience further.
Outdoor play and learning environments are crucial too, so the outside has been carefully planned and developed to complement the indoor zones and further enhance the children’s learning, creativity and independence. A mud pie kitchen, den-building area, huge sand pit, covered stage and seating, climbing frames and balance beams together with a huge road fully marked with traffic lights, garage and petrol station mean there will never be a dull moment.
Carefully placed storage again means children can play independently and learn to choose, work collaboratively, share and be creative risk-takers in a safe and welcoming environment. A further large grass area is perfect for team games and skill acquisition as well as letting off lots of steam.
All of the above aspects will ensure the best possible start to an early years education for its youngest pupils.
Plans for the new lower school will also be a cutting-edge building, designed to allow for our innovative and creative teaching and learning (Years 3 and 4) as well as complement the Grade-II listed Georgian house and green belt setting. Benefiting from the latest building methods, a curved roof will house the central hall as well as provide a welcome porch, giving height and space to the building. Six large classrooms will all come off the hall, grouped in year groups with shared resource areas to allow for collaborative planning and teaching. The multi-use hall will be used for drama, assemblies and production and also incorporate learning pods and library areas making the best use of the space. These areas will be used for small group teaching and learning and breakout areas ensuring the whole building is used to its maximum potential.
The classrooms will be fitted with learning walls and large interactive screens encouraging independence and collaborative learning. Each will have access to outside, wellington boot and coat storage to rationalise pupil flow and allow greater freedom for teachers who will make the best use of the 28 acres and other outdoor learning environments surrounding the school.