Brighton Street Early Learning Centre Design

Looking for early education environment & architecture inspiration? In this article, we’ll look at this project to see how it aligns with early education philosophy, how the design facilitates learning, the activities that would suit these spaces and we’ll look at how you can use elements of the design as inspiration for your own service.

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Brief Overview of the Project

The Brighton Street Early Learning Centre, located in Melbourne, is a unique and vibrant early learning space designed by Danielle Brustman. The centre is housed within a brutalist building and has been transformed into a lively and playful environment for children. Brustman utilized pastel colors, marmoleum flooring, and hand-painted murals to bring the space to life. Each playroom within the centre has its own distinct theme, such as a river, meadow, star, sun, and cloud, which guided the narrative and palette for each space.


Alignment with Montessori, Steiner, or Reggio Principles

While the article does not explicitly mention the Montessori, Steiner, or Reggio principles, several design elements align with these educational philosophies:

  1. Environment as the Third Teacher: The Reggio Emilia approach emphasizes the environment as a third teacher. The diverse motifs, colors, and murals in the centre can stimulate children’s curiosity and exploration, aligning with this principle.
  2. Connection with Nature: The themes of river, meadow, star, sun, and cloud, as well as the use of natural materials like marmoleum (made of natural fiber and recycled materials) and goat hair rugs, resonate with the Steiner and Montessori emphasis on nature and tactile experiences.
  3. Child-Centered Spaces: The design, with its playful motifs and child-friendly furnishings, centers around the child’s perspective and needs, which is a core tenet of Montessori education.


Design Facilitating Learning

  • Narrative Themes: Each playroom’s distinct theme provides a backdrop for imaginative play and storytelling, fostering creativity and language development.
  • Hand-Painted Murals: The murals, featuring designs like starbursts, boats, rainbows, and trees, can serve as visual stimuli for learning and exploration.
  • Diverse Color Palette: The use of 47 different colors can evoke different emotions, stimulate sensory experiences, and facilitate learning about colors and their nuances.


Design Assisting Teachers in Creating Inspiring Lessons

  • Thematic Rooms: Teachers can craft lessons around the themes of each room, such as water-related activities in the river room or space exploration in the star room.
  • Murals as Teaching Aids: The hand-painted murals can be used as visual aids for storytelling, art lessons, or discussions about shapes and patterns.
  • Natural Elements: The use of natural materials can be incorporated into lessons about sustainability, nature, and tactile experiences.


Activities and Lessons Suited for this Space

  1. Nature Exploration: Given the themes of meadow, river, and sun, activities like plant growing, water play, or shadow experiments can be conducted.
  2. Art and Craft: Using the murals as inspiration, children can engage in painting, collage-making, or sculpture activities.
  3. Storytelling Sessions: The thematic rooms can serve as settings for immersive storytelling sessions, with props and costumes enhancing the experience.
  4. Sensory Play: The diverse textures, from marmoleum floors to goat hair rugs, can be used for sensory exploration activities.


Incorporating Design Elements in Other Kindergarten Environments

  1. Thematic Rooms: Even without a complete redesign, teachers can create thematic corners or zones in their classrooms, using simple props, posters, or wall decals.
  2. Use of Color: Introducing a diverse color palette through furnishings, wall paints, or teaching aids can stimulate sensory experiences.
  3. Natural Materials: Incorporating sustainable and natural materials, like wooden toys or natural fiber rugs, can bring a touch of nature into the classroom.
  4. Murals and Art: Collaborating with local artists or even involving children in creating murals or large-scale art pieces can transform the learning environment.

In conclusion, the Brighton Street Early Learning Centre, with its thoughtful design and vibrant aesthetics, serves as an inspiring example of how space can be transformed to facilitate learning and creativity in young children.



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