La Ruche Kindergarten

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

La Ruche, which translates to “The Beehive,” is a kindergarten located in the village of Perthes-en-Gatinais, France. Designed by Tracks Architectes, the kindergarten features a series of gabled volumes clad in honey-colored wood. The design of the kindergarten is inspired by the local architecture, with each pitched unit sitting on a single level. The dimensions of these units vary based on internal requirements. The kindergarten is situated in the Gatinais Regional Natural Park, and its design emphasizes visual generosity, offering views of a wooded promenade to the north and an educational garden to the south. The construction was completed in a mere 10 months to reduce disturbance to the park.

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. Connection with Nature: The kindergarten’s location within a natural park and its design that looks out to natural surroundings aligns with the Montessori and Reggio emphasis on connecting children with nature.
  2. Open and Bright Spaces: The interior of the kindergarten features simple wooden cladding and white walls, creating open and bright spaces. This design aligns with the Montessori and Reggio principles of providing open, well-lit environments that foster exploration and independence.
  3. Child-Centric Design: The pitched roof design, described as “a house like a child would draw,” reflects a child-centric approach, resonating with all three educational philosophies.

How the Design Facilitates Learning

The design of La Ruche is conducive to learning in several ways:

  1. Natural Light: Skylights combined with gable windows ensure that classrooms are bathed in natural light, creating a warm and welcoming environment that is known to enhance learning.
  2. Open Spaces: The open spaces within the kindergarten encourage free movement, exploration, and collaborative learning.
  3. Connection with Nature: The views of the wooded promenade and educational garden not only provide visual relief but also opportunities for outdoor learning and exploration.

How the Design Helps Teachers Create Inspiring Lessons

The design elements of La Ruche offer teachers a versatile environment to craft inspiring lessons:

  1. Nature as a Classroom: The proximity to natural elements allows teachers to incorporate nature-based lessons, from studying plants in the educational garden to observing insects and animals.
  2. Flexible Spaces: The open design provides flexibility for teachers to rearrange spaces based on the activity, be it group discussions, individual projects, or hands-on activities.
  3. Visual Motifs: The insect and animal motifs used as a signage system can serve as thematic anchors for lessons, sparking curiosity and discussions among students.

Activities and Lessons Suited for this Space

Given the design and features of La Ruche, the following activities and lessons would be ideal:

  1. Nature Walks: Exploring the wooded promenade and educational garden to study flora and fauna.
  2. Art and Craft: Using natural materials collected from the surroundings to create art pieces.
  3. Storytelling: Using the animal and insect motifs as inspiration for storytelling sessions.
  4. Shadow Play: Utilizing the natural light from skylights for shadow-based activities and lessons.
  5. Gardening: Engaging students in planting and nurturing plants in the educational garden.

Incorporating Design Elements in Other Kindergarten Environments

Teachers and planners looking to incorporate elements of La Ruche’s design into their own kindergarten environments can consider:

  1. Maximizing Natural Light: Introducing skylights or large windows to ensure classrooms receive ample natural light.
  2. Incorporating Nature: Even if a kindergarten isn’t located near a natural park, introducing potted plants, small gardens, or nature-themed decor can bring a touch of nature indoors.
  3. Flexible Layouts: Opting for movable furniture and open spaces that can be easily reconfigured based on the activity or lesson plan.
  4. Child-Centric Design Elements: Incorporating designs and motifs that resonate with children, such as familiar animals, shapes, or colors.

In conclusion, La Ruche’s design by Tracks Architectes is not only visually appealing but also thoughtfully crafted to enhance learning and teaching experiences. Its emphasis on natural light, connection with nature and child-centric motifs make it a shining example of modern kindergarten architecture.



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