Sir Thomas Playford Kindergarten
Chivell Street, Elizabeth South, SA, 5112
Marino Rossi / Sophia Bartemucci
The new Sir Thomas Playford Kindergarten has been designed to address specific social and cultural disadvantage through education and break inter-generational unemployment through learning. Designed to encourage participation with children and parents, allowing parents to engage and improve social skills, thus transferring the value of learning to the home environment.
The project was initiated five years ago with co-location with Elizabeth South Primary School our end goal. Throughout the process Kindergarten staff have collaborated with the architect and landscape architect to co-create and purposefully design a building that meets the needs of the community.
The challenge of re-locating the Kindergarten on to an existing Primary School site was creating an architectural language that separated the specific use of the building from the rest of the buildings on site. A circular theme that carries through the building introduces bright splashes of colour which provide an inherent sense of playfulness to the design of the facility making it obvious as to what it will be used for and highlighting its function to the community.
Recognizing the complex and challenging community background the kindergarten will serve and creating culturally sensitive building design that is inclusive and welcoming to all was a key factor in how we approached the design. The building offers security, is child friendly and enables line of sight supervision for educators. The facility had an unprecedented amount of glazing both internally and externally with full width and height windows while still having spaces to display children’s work. This creates a very light and open plan environment due to the indoor and outdoor learning spaces being visually connected as well as allowing supervision of all children. The activity spaces themselves are highly flexible with large sliding doors allowing the spaces to be opened up. The flow of children through the space is calm and the natural light is warm and inviting. Pinboard fabric on the walls offers a visual effect and soundproofing to all areas reducing noise levels.
Open areas and space is plentiful and the colour theme of water and land complement each other and Educators have chosen furnishings to match. Outdoors offers several sensory spaces with sandpit, mud-kitchen and watercourse. Both structured and unstructured play via a series of connected ‘garden rooms’ has provided a greater connection to nature. Each room provides a mix of colour, texture, planting and play elements carefully connected via a looped path.