Five Early Years Centres for City of Edinburgh Council to allow delivery of the 1140hrs early learning and childcare provision, provided by the Scottish Government from August 2020.
Each new Early Years Centre is located within the grounds of an existing primary school, strengthening the connection between early years and primary education, and either replaces and expands an existing early years provision at the school or creates a brand new provision.
Each location provides spaces for children between 2 and 5 years old (with one location providing spaces for children under 2) and follows a standardised design strategy that offers variations to accommodate either 64, 128 or 137 children.
The designs were generated from first principals following extensive consultation with staff, educationalists and the Care Inspectorate. The approach aims to provide the very best learning opportunities and outcomes for children in a safe and nurturing environment. The designs create a variety of adaptable spaces that have properties suited to the type of activity being conducted – giving teaching staff the best possible tools to work with. The open plan spaces encourage children to interact with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene, as well as curriculum learning.
The internal spaces are designed to encourage the children to undertake tasks independently and not rely on practitioners, empowering them to make their own learning and development choices.
Designed with “free flow” in mind, the centres allow children to move freely between the internal and external spaces, allowing children to choose where they play and learn.
Each playroom opens onto a generous covered space that provides opportunities for all weather outdoor play as well as al-fresco dining. These spaces then connect to the naturalistic play areas surrounding the building, providing the children with a variety of external playscapes. At each location the maximum possible existing high quality woodland was retained to enrich the external landscaped areas.
We were delighted to have the opportunity to design these facilities, we hope they will help give the next generations the very best start to their educational journey. Undoubtedly they will provide enormous benefit to children, parents and care givers across Edinburgh.