Innovative centres from throughout the world
Childcare is not a new concept. Throughout the world families during the ages have come up with unique ways to look after their children while they're out working - from strapping them to their chests while out in the fields, to putting them in baby tents in the middle of farms.
Modern early learning centres are now a combination of architectural design and award-winning educational programs. We check a few of the most interesting ones from throughout the world.
The Ecole Maternelle Pajol School in Paris
(pictured below) is a four-room kindergarten which has been painted in bright, rainbow colours. The bathrooms feature large bright red snail privacy dividers
The architecturally-designed Saunalahti Children’s House
in Finland (below and main picture) is a two-storey building which is home to kindergarten children and a health centre. Built into the landscape it features tunnels, circles, an amazing outdoor play area and minimalist design.
The Raa Day Care Centre
in Sweden (below) is not your ordinary run-of-the-mill centre. With its sloping ceilings, bookcase walls, cave-like spaces and skylights. On a scenic beach, it has been designed to blend in with the sand and dunes, and the surrounding fishing village houses.
in Hong Kong (below) features a children’s kitchen designed by professional chefs with 10 cooking stations with stainless steel worktops and an indoor treehouse with a slide. There’s even a multi-purpose stadium with audience bench seating.
Trees grow right through classrooms and the roof is the playground of Fuji Kindergarten
, Japan (below). The children can slide to their classes, there are hammocks and safety nets everywhere and skylights allow the children to look into the building below.
Goodstart Early Learning Penfield is set on 4.8ha and is home to chickens, ducks and sheep. The children enjoy feeding the animals every day and spend time outside walking in the mud and running in the paddocks.
Meanwhile, if it's an outdoor education you're after for your child, you had best move to the United Kingdom. Scotland’s Fife is home to The Secret Garden Outdoor Nursery
. It opened in 2008 and is on more than 5ha of woodland. The centre offers full-time outdoor play and tarps offer shelter from the weather. Educators light fires and encourage lots of physical activity to keep the children warm. Little Forest Folk
run three centres in Chiswick, Fulham and Wimbledon. The Wimbledon centre is on a 3.5ha forest reserve where children have free reign to explore, play and have adventures.